More than 500 members of The Appeal Guild attended a special Mass celebrated by Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley on March 21 at Sacred Heart Church, Newton. Participating in the Mass were Catherine-Mary Donovan of Our Lady of Victories Shrine in Boston, who proclaimed the first reading; Craig Gibson of St. Mary Parish, Winchester, who proclaimed the second reading; and Mark Thomas of St. Francis Chapel, Boston, who offered the prayers of the faithful. Serving as gift bearers were Robert and Susan Gleason of St. Mary Parish, Charlestown.
Following the Mass, a reception was held at the parish center to thank guild members for their support of the Annual Catholic Appeal during the past year.
"I am pleased to inform you that because of your generosity and that of so many others we exceeded our 2003 Catholic Appeal goal by $1.3 million," said Archbishop O'Malley in his opening remarks at the reception. "On behalf of the countless young people, seniors, families and others in need who have directly and indirectly benefited from your generosity, I thank you. On behalf of the more than 80 ministries and programs that receive full or partial funding from the appeal to provide for the religious education of our youth, the faith formation of our laity and clergy, hospital visitations to the ill and food for our neighbors -- for all of this, I thank you."
Gifts to the Annual Catholic Appeal provide for the needs of individuals, families and parishes throughout the archdiocese. Pastoral services, such as the Family Life Office, Health Care Ministry, Multicultural Apostolates and the Spiritual Development Office; education services, such as Campus Ministry, the Catholic Schools Office and the Office of Religious Education; and social services, such as Catholic Charities, are among the 80 ministries, programs and services that receive funding or partial support through the Annual Catholic Appeal.
"I believe it is important to give to the Catholic Appeal because so many people need our services," noted Catherine-Mary Donovan. "Giving to the appeal is a way of helping the Church fund services such as after-school programs for children or programs for the elderly who need our help."
"I have been Catholic all of my life and I believe that we, as Catholics, absolutely have to give as much as we can. Giving is a decision that we will never regret and that will repay us a thousand times over," said Mark Thomas.
"The Catholic Appeal is the lifeblood of our work as Church, and our Guild leadership is vital to our appeal," commented Damien DeVasto, director of the Catholic Appeal Office. "Their commitment to our annual appeal effort is invaluable to providing support to the many essential ministries and programs funded by the appeal. The Guild Mass and reception are a celebration of their generosity and an opportunity for Archbishop O'Malley and all of us to extend our appreciation."
The 2004 Catholic Appeal Weekend — May 1 and 2 — begins this year’s campaign, “Together in Faith.”
"Our theme, 'Together in Faith,' reflects the importance of all of us continuing to work 'together in faith' to provide for those in need," concluded Archbishop O'Malley in his thanks to Appeal Guild members.
For more information about the 2004 Annual Catholic Appeal, call Damien DeVasto, director of the Catholic Appeal Office, at 617-746-5628.