My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
On behalf of the people who are served throughout our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens, we begin the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal, “Live in Faith – Give in Love,” by thanking those who generously responded to the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal and the Generations of Faith capital campaign.
While the Generations of Faith capital campaign is helping to strengthen our parishes, provide for our senior priests and secure the future of the Church through our diocesan youth ministry initiative, the Annual Catholic Appeal continues to support the vital diocesan ministries that serve the people of Brooklyn and Queens on a day-to-day basis. If it were not for the commitment of parishioners throughout the Diocese to the Annual Catholic Appeal each year, the responsibility to provide the basic services and ministries of the Diocese of Brooklyn would be impossible.
The 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal, “Live in Faith – Give in Love,” reminds us that the work of the Church is shared by all believers in response to the gifts of faith and love. By supporting the works of the Diocese and the mission of the Church through a commitment to the Annual Catholic Appeal, you will inspire others in your parish and our diocese to join us as we answer God’s call to love and to serve our neighbors. Those who are without shelter, malnourished, those without access to Catholic education, men discerning the priesthood and those who are ill and dying – all depend upon our generosity.
The ministries made possible through a gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal go beyond the abilities of any one parish while benefiting all parishioners who make up our diocesan family. In the area of Catholic education, your support makes it possible for the Diocese to identify children who are not currently enrolled in our religious education programs or Catholic schools and academies. Catholic education is critical to the life of our diocese because it ensures the future of our Church in Brooklyn and Queens.
Currently there are 38,264 students attending our Catholic grammar schools, academies and high schools and 44,400 students enrolled in parish religious education programs for those not attending Catholic schools. A sad fact is that there are 80,000 students, baptized and living in the Diocese of Brooklyn, who have never been given any religious education. Through your generosity and the collaboration of our parishes and Catholic schools and academies, we can identify these students and provide all our children with religious education.
The 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal also makes it possible for the Church to welcome the stranger among us through its support of Catholic Migration Services. Thanks to your commitment to the Appeal, Catholic Migration Services along with Catholic Charities reaches out to those in need of legal assistance, housing, food, socialization and childcare to name a few vital programs.
The life of every parish within the Diocese of Brooklyn depends heavily on the dedicated work of our priests. Your support of the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal is crucial in fostering Vocations by sustaining programs which allow men to hear and respond to God’s call to the priesthood.
Upon my arrival to the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2003, we had 27 seminarians preparing to enter the priesthood. Thanks to the investment in vocation programs made possible by your gifts to the Annual Catholic Appeal, over the last 12 years 55 men were ordained to the priesthood for Brooklyn and Queens. An additional 42 men are currently in formation and hope to become priests.
The Office of Faith Formation is also aided by the Annual Catholic Appeal. This office is responsible for how we prepare young people and adults to receive the sacraments. The School of Evangelization, within the Office of Faith Formation, provides the instruction and opportunity for the Diocese of Brooklyn to provide our lay leaders with the necessary tools to call others to Christ through the Church.
The 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal allows us to support our Catholic Chaplaincies in non-Catholic colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions throughout Brooklyn and Queens. The chaplains’ work is significant in ensuring that none of the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens are denied access to the sacraments.
Our Retired Priests are helped by the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal as well. At the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, 45 rooms are dedicated to our senior priests in the Bishop Mugavero Residence. This home provides a dignified community experience for priests needing assisted living.
Lastly, not all of our parishes are able to meet the financial burden their work demands. In recent years, we have made tremendous progress with Christ Jesus Our Hope, where we looked at all the parishes of the Diocese to see which of them needed to be combined in order to be sustainable and vibrant. The parish support that your gift to the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal provides goes further to help those parishes with large pastoral demands in communities of low means or extraordinary circumstances.
Your commitment to the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal, no matter how big or small, ensures the success of the mission of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Together, we are able to cast out our nets and put out into the deep to become fishers of men and women.
We are grateful for your partnership in the Lord’s work and invite you to join with your neighbors again this year in the mission Christ has given every one of us… to “Live in Faith – Give in Love” through your commitment to the Annual Catholic Appeal.