Put Out into the Deep

Sharing the Light of Faith

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

The generous response to last year’s Annual Catholic Appeal, Renewing Our Faith Through Acts of Charity, was not only charitable in theme but also in results. You, the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn, have responded and embraced Christ’s message to love your neighbor as yourself. These are challenging times for so many, and I am humbled by your generosity. Thank you! Your gifts were immediately directed to enable and assist the essential ministries supported by the Appeal. You may be assured that every dollar is used wisely, always aware that we are sharing the gifts of the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens.

The 2014 Annual Catholic Appeal will be formally announced throughout our Diocese this weekend. When you support the Appeal, you are providing more than just material needs. Through strong, faith-based ministries, you are actually sharing your faith with others. Taken from Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Lumen Fidei,” we have chosen for our 2014 Appeal the theme, “When We Give, We Share The Light Of Faith.”

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is teaching us about the incredible gift of faith we have received and our sacred obligation to share our faith with others. He reminds us that faith is a light that dispels darkness when he says, “The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.”

Each ministry is strongly rooted in and supports Catholic values every day. When our ministries serve those in need, our faith shines into the world like a strong and welcomed light. Your support allows Catholic ministries to help others and to respond to the Holy Father’s call to serve the least among us.

The Annual Catholic Appeal is an excellent way for us to improve the human existence for so many of our brothers and sisters right here in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens serves nearly 100,000 people in our diocese every year regardless of race, nationality or religion. Catholic Charities relies primarily on government grants; however, without the financial support we receive from the Annual Appeal, the core services we offer, which are really Catholic services, could not be provided.

Vocations Support is so important to the life of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Appeal supports vocations by helping to educate and train our future priests. Today, we have 60 seminarians studying for the priesthood. Please God, 13 of our seminarians will be ordained priests this June.

Faith Formation and Pastoral Life strengthens the faith of thousands of our neighbors through dozens of programs including the Catholic Youth Organization, Family Support and Formation and religious education.

Catholic Schools Scholarship Assistance ensures that more students in Brooklyn and Queens receive the strong faith foundation that a Catholic school can provide. There are 43,000 children studying in our 108 Catholic Schools/Academies, often thanks to scholarships that you make possible.

Retired Priests have played an important part in bringing the Light of Faith to many. Now is their time to rest and retire, and we should to be able to provide for them. Currently, we have 40 retired priests living in the Bishop Mugavero Residence in Douglaston. Other retired priests remain in parishes, while others are in nursing homes.

Catholic Migration Services offers new immigrants professional help with their needs and makes them feel welcome. More than 1.5 million Catholics coming from 167 countries are served because of you.

Chaplaincies provide ministers for local hospitals, high schools, colleges and prisons. We want to ensure that there are priests available for those in these institutions and to make sure they have the opportunity to practice their faith.

Parish Assistance is available when serious financial challenges face our parishes. Sometimes the help is for an emergency repair; sometimes it is for a ministry program that could not take place without funding from the Appeal.

The Annual Catholic Appeal is our opportunity for all 186 parishes in the Diocese to work together as one. No one parish could support all the ministries we need. However, by joining resources with parishioners of strong faith throughout Brooklyn and Queens, we are undertaking incredible initiatives and succeeding in our mission.

As you reflect on your blessings and decide what you are called upon to share, please remember that with one gift or pledge to the Annual Catholic Appeal, you are contributing to a cause that takes care of those in need and supports Catholic values for those right here in our two boroughs. It is an opportunity for you, and for me, to share the light of faith.

On behalf of the least among us, let us put out into the deep as we recommit ourselves to this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal.

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