Homily for the Bishop’s Appeal

Fr. Joel Homilies

Dear Parish community,
When I first was asked to come here, I was nervous about taking a job as a new pastor for three parishes. Mark Mogilka from Stewardship and Pastoral Services sat down with me and gave me a brief history of the previous pastors here so I would understand what I was saying yes to. I was then enrolled in a two year program for new pastors and parish directors. Every few months Fr. Tom Long in the Ministry Formation department helps us process how things are going. When I arrived I worked with the Marriage and Family Life office to begin evolving our marriage preparation process. Many of our staff received some training through various Diocesan offices. If you gave to last year’s Bishop’s Appeal – Thank you! Your contributions helped fund these support services that are helping me along.
Last year the Bishop’s Appeal raised over 4.5 million dollars.

Here’s what it was spent on:
23% to the Education Department (supporting our school, supporting adult education, training catechists, helping Lynn and Emma do their jobs)
18% Stewardship and Pastoral Services (mentioned above)
17% Catholic Charities (assisting over 45,000 people with counseling and more)
15% Evangelization and Worship (including campus ministry at UWGB and UW-Oshkosh and marriage and family life programs)
14% Ministry Formation (training and supporting pastors and parish direct0rs)
9% Bishop’s Appeal expenses
4% Partially underwriting our award-winning Diocesan newspaper, The Compass

Many people are afraid that donations to the Diocese will wind up being part of payouts for lawsuits. In my 10 years or so of being involved in the Diocese I’m not aware of any payout that was ever given to settle a lawsuit. Money you give to the Bishop’s Appeal is kept in a separate financial entity called the Catholic Foundation. It is not owned by the Diocese and is not part of the Diocesan assets. These designated funds are disbursed to the diocese to support the programs listed above. For more information you can call (920) 272-8197 or visit www.CatholicFoundationGB.org/Appeal
You should receive a letter in the mail inviting you to contribute. You can also give online. Please consider it carefully. Don’t ask yourself, “How much can I afford to give?” Ask instead, “How generous do I want God to be with me?” Then be that generous yourself. Isaiah 58 says, “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own….” Our God expects us to be generous with the things He has given us. What if you had the opportunity to help a struggling family follow a budget and get out of debt, or talk to a college student who was losing her faith, or help a struggling priest get back on his feet again, help a couple chose not to divorce and work out their differences, reach out to a young girl who was thinking of having an abortion. Would you do it?
You have this opportunity today through the Bishop’s Appeal. Please pray about it.

– Fr. Joel