As director of the Annual Catholic Appeal, parishioners at my own church, St. Andrew, Colchester, sometimes ask me about how the ACA is doing and specifically about how our own parish is progressing toward its goal.
I really enjoy these encounters because it gives me an opportunity to personally thank the parishioner for his or her generous donation to the ACA and also it gives me a minute to share something about the 25-plus ministries and programs that are doing the work of Christ thanks to the support received from the ACA.
In addition, more often than not, this conversation gives me a glimpse into why this person has supported the ACA and what the donation means to him or her. I am struck by two constants: 1. Our parishioners have huge hearts and are willing to make themselves sacrifice in order to help others and 2. They have a very good understanding of the important work that our ministries are doing. Both of these, of course, bring me great joy.
Recently, I spoke to a middle-aged woman who, a short while ago, took in her daughter and her family when they hit tough times. Despite her income being severely stretched, she was genuinely concerned with our soup kitchens’ ability to help people put food on the table now that inflation has drastically shrunk what people are able to buy for themselves. Despite her own challenges, helping out with her daughter’s family, she told me that she increased her ACA donation “a bit” to help those in need.
On another Sunday, a young father told me that he and his wife had just celebrated their one-year anniversary and were so appreciative of the guidance that they received from their priest that they increased their donation with the hopes that more young men would be called to the priesthood and begin their seminarian education.
While we all know people who truly live their lives by Jesus’ command to love your brothers as yourself, it always amazes me when I meet people who make sacrificial gifts over and over each year. A mom of a child who had been very sick and in need of specialized care, burdened with her share of debt and fear, continued to make her usual donation. I believe that she, like many of our donors, lives by another of Jesus’ teachings, captured in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Thankfully, we all share a love of Christ and a desire to follow Him and are able to see beyond our own personal problems and put them in the context of the needs of others. As followers of Christ, we strive every day to be the hands and feet of Jesus and do what we may to help other brothers and sisters face their personal challenges, strengthen one another’s faith, provide comfort to our sick and educate our youth and seminarians, just to name a few of the good works of our ACA supported ministries.
Currently we have received gifts and pledges amounting to 86% of our goal with 15% of our parishioners having made donations. If you have not yet made a gift or pledge to the 2022 Annual Catholic Appeal, we would appreciate any size donation. We know that if we come together as One Faith, One Family, we will be able to close the gap and reach our goal of $2.7 million. Our ministries are depending on it. You may make your donation online at norwichdiocesedevelopment.org or by contacting our Campaign Manager, Heather Harris at (860) 886-1928 or email@example.com .
Thank you and God Bless you all.
By Mary Ellen Mahoney