Mass marks launch of Catholic Appeal

DEDHAM -- Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley invited parishioners to join him this Lent in supporting the Catholic Appeal by sharing their material blessings in a Mass celebrated March 7 at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Dedham.

“This is the way we are able to make a sacrifice in faith and love that will allow the Catholic community to carry on the mission that Christ has entrusted to us,” said Cardinal O’Malley.

The Mass marked the kick-off of the annual Catholic Appeal which provides funding to many of the archdiocese’s ministries and services.

“These are challenging economic times, and we are truly grateful to all of you who freely give to support the works of mercy and the proclamation of the Gospel by our Catholic community,” he said.

In his homily, the cardinal spoke on the story of Abraham in the Book of Genesis, which he said was a lens through which to understand the appeal.

“God put him to the test ordering him to sacrifice his only son, the son of the promise, the child of his old age,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “Because he is willing to sacrifice what was most precious to him, God spares Abraham’s son and blesses Abraham and his descendents,” he said.

Everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, have been affected by the economic downturn and, in sensitivity to that, Cardinal Sean has kept the appeal goal at $15 million -- the same as last year, said Scot Landry, the Archdiocese of Boston’s Secretary for Institutional Advancement.

“Catholics have a way of showing incredible generosity to those who are less fortunate or less blessed, relative to themselves,” said Landry. “We hope that Catholics will respond with increased generosity this year, as they have during every economic downturn,” he said.

“We hope Catholics who still have their jobs will sustain or increase their level of support for the Appeal to make up for those who are less fortunate and really struggling. Those people in need for whom the Catholic Church does so many things to help,” he said.

“If we are able to over deliver on the goal that we have set there is so much more that we can do,” said Landry.