By Mary Ellen Mahoney
When we decided on our 2020 ACA theme, “One Faith, One Family”, we did so in the summer of 2019, well in advance of any coronavirus concerns. While we selected this theme very purposefully because we felt that it was critical for everyone in the diocese to understand that we are truly all members of one family of faith and our ACA ministries and programs can only serve those in need if we all come together, working as one family; we never realized how much our theme would resonate with the current public health crisis. Clearly, the need to realize how all mankind is related as one family of brotherhood is never so apparent than when faced with a public health epidemic such as the COVID19 pandemic. We truly need to rely on each of us to do our very best to practice good hygiene, social distancing, and consideration of others, in order to contain this virus.
As with all aspects of our lives, the ACA “One Faith, One Family” campaign has been affected by the pandemic. While we were able to have our annual Leadership Dinner, which brought together our priests, secretaries and ACA chairpeople on March 5th, we had to postpone our Ministry Fair which had been scheduled for March 15th. At the time we made the decision to postpone, group gatherings were still allowed but we realized that because the Ministry Fair is a very high contact event with people moving from booth to booth meeting ministry representatives, as well as having a self-serve continental buffet, it was the smart thing to do. Only in hindsight have we realized what a great decision that was.
On the heels of canceling the Ministry Fair, as the public health situation became more severe, we decided that we would also postpone the ACA video and in pew collection weekend. When we made that decision, public Masses were still being celebrated. Since that time, as we all know, that is no longer the case. Hopefully, we will conduct the ACA video and in pew collection weekend in June. If you do have envelopes at home and would like to send them to our office, please feel free to do so. We would also appreciate your making your gifts and pledges online at our website, NorwichDioceseDevelopment.org. You will also be able to watch our video online as well.
While our ACA launch did not go as planned, the needs of our friends and neighbors have continued to greatly increase. St. Vincent de Paul, Norwich, and St. Vincent de Paul, Middletown along with Catholic Charities are working hard to meet the increased demands for food and other basic needs. Please remember that our once a year ACA is the chance for all of us to help support the ministries and programs that are provided by the diocese, not the parish. The ACA is needed in order to fund the education of our seminarians, the provision of coordinated social services, and the education of our youth, all provided at the diocesan level.
I pray for each of you, our entire diocese and hope that you are well and able to navigate this new challenge. During times of heightened anxiety, such as these, we all find ourselves reflecting on what really matters to us the most, our faith and our family. We hope you are able to turn your anxiety over to God and do what you are able, to support our 2020 ACA “One Faith, One Family.” Every gift no matter its size is truly appreciated and will allow our ministries to reach out to those in need of spiritual, physical, emotional or economic support during this crisis.
To make a contribution to “One Faith, One Family” please go online to NorwichDioceseDevelopment.org or call the Office of Development at 860-886-1928. Thank you so much for your kindness.