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2014 Catholic Services Appeal Kicks Off
Since its inception 43 years ago, the Diocese of Gaylord has held the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) each May. Established by our first Bishop, now Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, the annual campaign is a practical means for the faithful to support the many ministries and programs that connect us to the wider church. These ministries and programs serve to inspire, educate, enlighten and nurture the faithful as well as those suffering with physical and spiritual needs. Through the CSA, the heads, hearts and hands of the Gaylord faithful are connected and sent forth throughout the world to spread the Gospel, to shine Christ’s light, and to answer the call to love and serve one another.
The campaign is guided by the diocesan Stewardship and Development office which has a new person at the helm this year, Jeanne Marriott. Marriott has worked for the Diocese of Gaylord the past eight years, starting out as Resource Staff in the Secretariat for Communications and then moving into a grant writing role. She took on the full time position as Stewardship Specialist last October.
“I am excited to be in a leadership role in stewardship but also to be working on the CSA campaign,” said Marriott. “I have been passionate about CSA since I began supporting it in 1979 in my then home Diocese of Lansing.”
Two other diocesan staff members are assigned to help with the CSA campaign in addition to their other duties within the Secretariat for Administrative Services. Deb Krzystan and Rhonda Klee manage the CSA pledges and donations made by the faithful as well as support the parishes with processing paperwork.
The programs and ministries provided through the CSA funding cultivate and nourish the Catholic faith in our parishes, in our diocese and throughout the Universal Church. Thus, our faith is championed by our participation in the CSA.
“It just boggles my mind,” Marriott stated, “that if every active Catholic household in the Diocese of Gaylord could give just $5 per week for the 40-week campaign -- less than the price of a cup of coffee or soda each weekday -- that would be enough to meet the diocesan CSA target which ultimately serves tens of thousands who benefit from the CSA-supported ministries.”
Marriott is quick to add that while $5 per week may seem modest for many, the amount can be daunting for those who face a daily struggle to make ends meet.
“I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck and had to make hard decisions about if and how much I could give, but long ago I learned a lesson that has stuck with me: when I give, I am rewarded. I am blessed in a spiritual sense knowing that I have been able to help someone even more in need than myself and I have also found that when I give, somehow it comes back to me practically as well.
“I was living in Boston when I was just out of college and had to walk miles to get to work because I couldn’t afford to ride,” Marriott said. “I remember struggling with whether I could give anything at Mass one week, and ultimately put $1 into the collection basket to help others. That following day I found a $10 bill just lying on the sidewalk and I will never forget that. Those two events are forever connected in my mind. I truly felt blessed and believe that because I gave, the Lord gave to me. Ever since then it seems to me that the more I give, the more it comes back to me – just like the Bible says!”
Marriott stresses that each person must discern for themselves the amount they will give to CSA and to their parish and to other worthy causes. She added with the tax season just concluded, it may be an ideal time to analyze household finances and consider what portion of our “treasure” we really give to the greater good.
“Shared sacrifice is the name of the game,” Marriott stated. “If God has entrusted you with much, we must remember to give back in the same manner.”
As the diocese awaits word of a new shepherd for the Gaylord flock, Monsignor Francis J. Murphy was elected Diocesan Administrator and oversees the diocese while it is a vacant see. A letter from Msgr. Murphy along with a brochure regarding the Catholic Services Appeal was recently mailed to Catholic households in the diocese in support of this year’s effort. In this letter Msgr. Murphy pointed out, “… without the CSA (or the Diocesan Development Fund as it was called when I was ordained) I would not be a priest today.” He continues, “Without the diocese, I would not be a priest, and without our parishes we would not be a diocese.”
In the most practical of terms, the CSA provides the necessary funding to support efforts of the Diocese of Gaylord to provide specific benefits to the parishes and parishioners through training and other support. For example, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, catechetical leaders and youth ministers, deacons, seminarians, and priests all receive training through CSA funds. Thousands get help through Catholic Human Services. Many national and international ministries are supported through CSA. All of those items and many more are possible because of gifts to CSA – for a cost per household of what amounts to $5 per week for forty weeks. Mind boggling.
The theme for 2014, “Let your light shine” is from Matthew 5:16. This call has been echoed by Pope Francis asking that all Christians be beacons that shine our light of faith for others to see and also follow. In his February 9, 2014 Angelus message he said, “I want to ask you now, how do you want to live? As a lamp that is lit, or one that is off?” Each individual must reflect upon this question. It is clear as Catholics we are called to be a lit lamp and “Let Our Light Shine” as a beacon for others.
Please prayerfully consider your gift to the 2014 CSA campaign and join your brothers and sisters in helping to relieve suffering, respond to needs and grow the faith in our local communities and beyond. All gifts, regardless of size, are gratefully accepted and truly become a gift that keeps on giving.
For more information regarding the Catholic Services Appeal,call Jeanne Marriott at 989.732.5147 or contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make a gift online click here.