Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
My Dear Friends in Christ,
As we wrap up our message series, Blessed!, we focus on how we as Christians are called to be different, called to live differently as disciples. We are to be holy like God. For God, holiness is not just piety, not just fasting or praying. For God holiness is active:
This is the fasting I wish… releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7)
The Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries allows us to share our blessings and to demonstrate the holiness we hear in our first reading. Some of you have shared with me your hesitation to give to this effort. While I can appreciate your concern, I think this is a great way to give and to share your blessings with our larger Archdiocesan family. The monies raised in this appeal do not go for Archdiocesan administration or for insurance costs or abuse payouts. I myself give to this and, as I have shared with you on several occasions, I have benefited personally from some of these ministries and I have shared in the efforts to reach out with them.
The funds raised here go directly to the ministries that help those in need and those on the margin and a portion comes back to us here that we will use this year for our own outreach with our own Saint Teresa of Calcutta Conference of the Saint Vincent DePaul Society. There’s a huge variety of ministries supported by this annual appeal. These include:
Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul (Our Daily Bread, My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, Sarah’s House, St. Edward’s Workforce Development Center, Christopher Place Employment Academy, the Esperanza Center, among others);
Vocations(ongoing priestly formation of Baltimore Seminarians, as well as tuition, housing, health insurance, and textbooks);
College Campus Ministry, Youth Ministry, Black Catholic Ministries and Hispanic Ministry (sharing the Gospel with and providing information, assistance, and training for pastoral leadership regarding the evangelization of college students, young people, African Americans, and Hispanics)
PRIDE Program (P.R.I.D.E. - Pupils Receiving Inclusive Diversified Education- helps meet the needs of students with learning disabilities);
Prison Ministry (provides easy access for inmates and their families to get effective help including counseling services and prayer support);
Retired Priests (provide assistance for their care in their advancing years);
Respect Life (supporting ministries and working collaboratively for education and resources on a range of life issues including unplanned pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, domestic violence, adverse prenatal diagnosis, chastity and physician-assisted suicide);
In sharing our blessings with others, most especially those in need, we receive the even greater blessing of a God closer to us. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!” (Isaiah 58:8-9) May you know the blessing and the joy of helping others through the Annual Appeal.