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Letter to Parishioners from Bishop Raica Regarding the Catholic Services Appeal
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As we continue our focus on mercy in this jubilee year, I invite you to join with me, as a member of our “Family of Mercy,” in the 2016 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). Your pledge of support to this annual need is one way to answer the call to be “Merciful like the Father.” Through prayers for a strong campaign and our shared financial support, we - as a “family of mercy” - serve tens of thousands of people in need here in northern Lower Michigan and across the globe.
This September, the Church will canonize Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa is a perfect reflection of mercy in action. She was literally ‘an agent of mercy.’ As soon as she was old enough to discern her call, she dedicated her life to taking care of the poor and most vulnerable. She did this daily, but she did not do it alone. Just like the quote she coined above, she called on others to support the mission, to be the oil that fed the lamp. We are that oil; you, me, and all our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The enclosed brochure details many areas that benefit from our combined financial gifts. Many works are carried out by the diocesan staff. Through the delivery of ongoing training, formation, and outreach, they are ‘agents of mercy’ too. On behalf of my staff, we are grateful for your ongoing support. Your daily prayers for these ministries and good people who serve also represent ‘oil’ that keeps our lamp burning bright. Please continue to pray for them and for me.
In the ‘Parable of the Lamp’ from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 4:24-25, Mark explains that “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” Each year we make decisions on where to spend our money. We make monthly commitments for our utilities – water and light – essential for living today. Faith, too, is an essential that enables us to witness Christ’s presence. Yet, when it comes to this appeal, some choose a one-time donation and cross it off the list. Maybe you could think of it as the oil that feeds the lamp, and consider a monthly pledge symbolizing ongoing support for your faith, too.
As you discern your participation in this campaign, please remember the actions of soon-to-be Saint Teresa of Calcutta and the words from Mark. Trust in the Word that your gifts will be returned back to you in full measure. We are always so grateful for each and every gift received. Thank you for your ongoing support in prayer, action, and stewardship to our “Family of Mercy.” May God bless you and keep you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Steven J. Raica
Bishop of Gaylord
For more information about CSA, click here.