My brother called me this morning, actually on Face Time so that dad could see me and I could see and hear him. A technology we now take for granted, how right Dick Tracey was over fifty years ago. Anyway, it is always pleasant to see my dad, hear his voice and talk about general things like the weather, flying, and the occupancy rate at his memory care facility. What I do remember about growing up was that mom and dad were people of their word. When they said, ‘yes,’ they meant ‘yes’ and when they said ‘no’ they meant ‘no.’ We love people to say yes to us, even when the preferred answer might be ‘no.’ Each year we have another opportunity to say ‘yes’ to our bishop.
Each year our bishop asks us to support the Annual Diocesan Appeal because first of all he said ‘yes’ to us; over 19 years ago, he said ‘yes’ to be coadjutor, and then become our shepherd to lead and guide us, to be present with us, to confer the sacrament of Confirmation, confirming young people throughout the Diocese and ordaining men to the deaconate and priesthood, through the sacrament of Holy Orders. He continues to support the necessary ministries and offices outlined in this year’s Annual Diocesan Appeal brochure. From social justice ministries to Faith Formation processes in our parishes, the Institute for Leadership in Ministry to educate and train lay leaders to help with catechesis, liturgy formation, pastoral ministry and so many more areas of parish life. Bishop McGrath chose the theme, “Proclaiming God’s Love, Together in Christ;” adding a new phrase as he does every year to his motto “Together in Christ.”
The Bishop continues to say ‘yes’ to us to grow as a church, to live out the Gospel and evangelize our brothers and sisters so that we can more fully proclaim God’s love to others. He challenges us to be Catholic Christians. But in order to do his work, in order for the church of the Diocese of San Jose to proclaim Gods’ love we also need to say ‘yes’ to him. To support the offices and ministries, to support the people who make our church possible. He expects that we will love one another; we will say ‘yes’ to the Gospel, and we will say ‘yes’ to Christ.
Saint Paul had supporters who helped fund his missionary work, patrons who shared their resources so that the message could go out to all the world. For over two thousand years, we have been asked to support the work and ministry of the church. This year we are asked again to be patrons of our diocese using our financial resources to support the people and programs that make a local church viable from catechetics to human resources, from pastoral ministry to financial planning, from celebrating the sacraments to reaching out to our brothers and sisters who hunger to hear the Word of God. The bishop rarely says ‘no’ to us, when we ask for his presence, his support, or to provide the services we need in the local parish.
My parents always supported the work of the parish and the diocese. It is our turn to say ‘yes’ and support the Annual Diocesan Appeal. The amount you choose to give is personal, I can’t tell you what you can give, but we are asking each household to consider a pledge of $450 or $45 a month to ensure we can support the work of the Bishop. It is my goal that every single household make a monetary pledge or if your situation is limited because you have significant financial obligations, a prayer pledge also counts as a pledge. Please bring back your completed pledge form this week or next so that we can reach our goal as quickly as possible. Let us say ‘yes’ not only to Christ, but to our bishop, our diocese, and our parish. Every dollar over goal comes back to the parish.
Together let us ‘Proclaim God’s Love, Together in Christ.”
Blessings – Fr. Larry Hendel, Pastor