Every year on both the secular calendar and the sacred calendar, we follow the change of seasons. The regularity of our calendars adds stability to our lives as we move along in rhythm with the seasons and holidays.
One regular feature in our church calendar is the Catholic Family Sharing Appeal. It's that time of the year again when Bishop Swain solicits our assistance with the fiscal needs of our Diocesan Church. Each year the CFSA coincides with the beginning of Lent. As we are called to 40 days of spiritual renewal, we are also called to a renewed financial commitment to our local Church.
Every weekend as we pray the Creed, we profess our faith in our Church that is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In every Mass, we pray for Francis, our Pope, and Paul, our Bishop. Each year in the CFSA, we are reminded again that our local bishop stands in a line of succession with the Apostles. He is our local sign of unity with the teaching of the Apostles and with the Church all over the world.
The CFSA is the primary source of funding for our diocesan Church and includes money for administration, education of seminarians, formation of youth, pro-life activities, marriage tribunal, “The Bishop's Bulletin,” Newman Centers, adoption services, grief counseling, televised Mass, and all the ministries that make up our diocesan Church.
By this time, most people in our parish are familiar with the goals of the CFSA and how it is administered. Next week, you will receive the Bishop's appeal letter in the mail with a commitment card. These cards are to be returned to the parish in our weekend collection basket or to our Parish Office. We will gather the money and make regular payments to the Diocesan Finance Office. Even if you can't make a monetary donation this year, please return your card with a commitment to pray for the success of the CFSA.
Our parish assessment this year is $91,500, which is based on our parish enrollment and annual income. The formula spreads the CFSA needs across all diocesan parishes in a very equitable manner. Any amount we collect above our assessment will be assigned to our parish Building Fund and our parish Food & Diaper Pantry.
Over the years, our parish has been growing in its commitment to stewardship of our fiscal resources. We begin our giving from the perspective of what God has already given us, and we make a return of some portion in gratitude for God's generosity. Stewardship as a way of life is a spiritual way of managing our resources.
As our parish grows in a stewardship outlook, we become less dependent on special collections or fund- raising activities. We have also made significant headway on our parish debt reduction and have been able fund some capital improvements and repairs to our property. I am very grateful for your continued response. I hope you will join me in making a prayerful response to Bishop Swain's appeal.