February 20, 2022
This weekend is our "commitment weekend" for the Bishop's 2022 Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) – Do Prayer, Do Service, Do Gratitude. Money collected from the ACA each year covers the pastoral/ministerial programs of the Pastoral Center of the Diocese; while parish money given through our annual assessment (scheduled checks we send throughout the year) cover the temporal affairs of the Pastoral Center. The graphics included in this bulletin show the specific ways ACA funds are used. The big thing to understand is that ACA money does not fund normal operating costs of the Diocese.
Looking at the ACA graphics, it's evident how our parish benefits from the pastoral efforts of the Pastoral Center. Under “Discipleship and Family Life," I think of all the guidance we receive for marriage preparation. We have the “Joyful Marriage Workshops” that the Diocese sponsors for engaged couples, one of which takes place at our parish. I also think of how the Marriage Tribunal has helped me obtain annulments for people. Under “Cathedral Liturgies and Preservation," we realize how often we are invited to events at the Cathedral (Confirmations, the Wedding Anniversary Mass with the Bishop, ordinations, special holy day liturgies, etc.). Our own Deacon Paul Feasel was ordained at the Cathedral this past year! Our parish children were confirmed there. Under the category of “Catholic Charities," I think of the times the Diocese organizes financial help for victims of disasters. Under the category of “Clergy, Consecrated Life & Vocations," I think of the annual priests' day of sanctification, which I have always found enriching, ever since Bishop Thomas began them. Then there is the bi-annual priests' convocation. I think of how we all benefit when a young man is formed in seminary, or even when our high school men attend Andrew (vocation) Dinners with the Bishop. So, there are some very ready examples of how our parish directly benefits from the ACA funds that are donated. But, look at the lists of ACA pastoral services, and appreciate that these ministries on the diocesan level are something we want to support, even if they are not explicitly taking place within our parish boundaries. We are giving a bit beyond our own physical boundaries.
In addition to everything above, regarding how our parish benefits from the ACA, there is also the incentive of a 50% rebate on any money donated above and beyond our goal. Our parish goal for 2022 is $50,329. That is about $3,000 more than last year's goal. Overall, the diocese surpassed its 2021 goal. Thank you so much for your part in this success! Although we fell about $5,000 short of our 2021 goal, we gave as a parish well over $10,000 more than we have in more than a decade. I really hope we can make this year's goal.
In addition to all the reasons above, showing how we directly benefit from the pastoral/ministerial programming of the Diocese, I always think it's necessary to consider how the Diocese supports our local mission with the assessment funds we pay each year. This helps us realize how united the diocesan mission is with our local parish mission. We are intertwined in mission.
How do the normal diocesan operations support our parish life? By means of our QuickBooks cloud system, they continually watch our finances from a high level to make sure things are in order. We use their procedures for our internal financial audits. They are always there to support our personnel/staff needs. Consider the hiring we did this past year, and all the help the Diocesan Human Resources department provided. Consider insurance questions that came up. Consider that the Diocese gives guidance for any building project, such as the proposed storage and maintenance building. Consider any legal or financial question that arises. The diocesan staff is quick to help us. The diocesan mission and the parish mission are intertwined.
So, the ACA specifically aims to provide for the pastoral/ministerial affairs of the Pastoral Center of the Diocese. But, I believe at this moment it also helps to realize how connected we are in mission by means of the normal support we receive from our assessment dollars, which cover the temporal affairs of the Pastoral Center. St. Wendelin Parish clearly benefits from both the ACA dollars each household donates, and the assessment dollars we pay as a parish. The mission of the Diocese is clearly united with the mission of St. Wendelin's, and vice versa. Please consider helping us to meet our parish goal for ACA 2022 – Do Prayer, Do Service, Do Gratitude. No gift is too small! It would be great to have every household give something. I realize that people are stretched in these times of pandemic, so please exercise prudence, and know that I appreciate your reading this letter, and even the consideration of a gift! Meeting our goal is a great way of saying that we realize our parish mission and the Diocese's mission are united, and St. Wendelin's parish is alive and well regarding both!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Iosephus,