Story by Mary Morrell, Contributing Editor
During his 15-year pontificate, notably throughout the Second Vatican Council, St. Paul VI worked tirelessly as a prophetic witness to the joy of the Gospel and the communion of the Body of Christ. He called the Church, in all its communities, to evangelization, missionary discipleship and service to others.
St. Paul VI also exhorted the faithful to “never reach out a hand unless you are willing to extend an arm.”
“With these words,” said Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in his letter introducing the 2019 Annual Catholic Appeal, “[St. Paul VI] challenges us to do all we can to build up the Body of Christ in our communities and provide assistance to those in need. He urges us to offer our help with free hearts and a generous spirit, withholding nothing in our efforts.”
With a goal of $7 million, the 2019 Appeal will kick off in the Diocese the weekend of Feb. 23-24. Following an introduction of the Appeal by the local pastor, a video illustrating the outreach and ministries supported by the Appeal will be shown at all Masses.
In-pew commitments may be made by completing pledge cards available in church during the kick-off weekend. Informational materials, including a brochure, pledge card and reply envelope, are also being mailed to parishioners.
The theme of this year’s Appeal, said Msgr. Edward Arnister, pastor, St. Rose Parish, Belmar, “makes one prayerfully reflect that we are members of the Body of Christ who must be Christ to others today, serving others and reaching out especially to those most in need. The Appeal is one important way we can make those words come alive in our parish and in our Diocese.
“A parish does not exist all by itself. It is our duty as pastors always to convey a broader vision of Church than the particular parish to which one belongs. We belong to a diocesan family with the Bishop as shepherd. By supporting the programs, ministries and services of the Diocese through the Appeal, parishes are assisted in the various ministries, programs and services that are offered locally.”
As the new Appeal gets underway, Stephen Nicholl, diocesan director of the Department of Development, emphasized the importance of the excellent partnerships between his department and the pastors and parishes: partnerships which enable the Appeal to be successful.
“Together, as we reach out our hands and extend our arms in support of our 2019 Annual Catholic Appeal, we continue to be grateful for the wide range of diocesan ministries made possible by the generous support of our donors,” Nicholl said.
Msgr. Arnister described these partnerships as a “win-win situation,” explaining, “Once you reach your goal, as well as go over it, your parish receives a rebate to assist with your own parish projects and programs. But all of this must commence with the pastor’s enthusiasm and support.”
The needs of parishes, one of the six supported ministries of the Appeal, are addressed with 15 percent of the original collected goal and 50 percent of the amount collected over goal being returned to the parish for repair or restoration projects, new areas of growth or ministry development, as well as other needs.
Looking to the future, Msgr. Arnister acknowledged, “We will be using the rebates we received from the 2018 Appeal, as well as future rebates, hopefully, from the 2019 Appeal, for our capital improvement projects that we have in the parish. A major project is the renovation of our sacristy and side entrance of the church proper. … We also have a building called the ‘St. Rose Grammar School Annex’ which is quite old and in need of renovation. Plans call for that to be used for adult faith formation sessions and possible additional meeting space. We are never at a loss as to what to do with any rebates we receive from the Appeal!”
Nicholl stressed that, in the coming year, “The needs of the Diocese and its parishes are greater than ever and I urge all people of faith to consider donating to the Appeal. This year, with your support, the Diocese will continue to be able to feed and nurture the family of God through our parishes, our ministries, and our schools.”
Donations to the Annual Catholic Appeal may be made by mail, on-line or by phone.
For more information call 609-403-7197 or visit dioceseoftrenton.org/catholicappeal