Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Why I support the Annual Catholic Appeal
(From the Feb. 8, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
Teena and Jeff Burnett
My wife, Teena, and I are just a typical couple in Spokane who love our Catholic faith. We’re doing “the empty nest happy dance” now, feeling some relatively new freedoms, like drinking directly out of the milk carton, and having a little more spare change in the pocket.
When at Mass on the weekends we sometimes forget to put money in our envelopes, so a smaller amount goes in the offering plate. At home, the desk has a pile of worthwhile solicitations, but that’s where “good old Catholic guilt” comes in. I’m not a “cradle Catholic,” but Teena has taught me how to use the guilt. You see, while I realize that the church has had some setbacks with our current situation, the good work of the church must go on, and I need to be a part of that effort. It’s easy to yield to the urge of impulse buying when we see all of those beautiful screens at Costco, but it’s also amazing to see what’s done with our dollars when we look around us in this beautiful city…which reminds me, it’s time to stop by and give some blood this month.
Think about it, won’t you? You know how fortunate you are. We’ll wait on the TV, give the blood, give to the Annual Catholic Appeal, but I still have plans to take us out to a Chinese buffet meal this week.
May God bless you like he has us.
Sincerely, your friend in the pew who put the money in the plate.
The Annual Catholic Appeal. Why do I give? Since my husband writes the checks for these things, I had first to inquire, “What is it?” As it was then explained to me, and after my own investigation on the diocesan website, I remembered. I realize this is just one piece of our “family Catholic” pie, one part of a total package that supports, really, all other pieces – rather similar to an operating budget. So then I thought, okay – it’s like at home. A certain portion of our family budget needs to go for utilities and other management costs – like the light bill, for example: operating costs. These are costs that come right off the top, without which we couldn’t live.
I know the ACA is more than “utility” costs. I know the ACA funds the sustenance, maintenance, and the out-reach work of our bishop and diocese. I still equate it to giving, as at home, to the mechanical ends of what sustains me.
So, why do I give at all? The Catholic Church never sends me a bill – the offering envelopes are not a bill. My giving is a response from what isn’t “mine” in the first place. In my experience in the Catholic Church – 12 years this Easter – the church invites me to give. Neither Avista nor Vera Water & Power do that. And the church doesn’t turn me over to a collection agency if I don’t pay.
Simply, I give because I trust and believe in the work God has entrusted to the church. The blessings I have received, the wholeness the church gives to my life and that of my family – which has resulted from my conversion to Catholicism – the blessings from Catholic friends, and especially from clergy and Religious, can never be compensated for by writing checks. But it is one way I can say, “Thank you.” I give in grateful response to what I’ve been freely given over these many years. I support the work of our Bishop and our church, God’s mission here with us.
As I’ve grown beyond my own self-centeredness and shortsightedness, and understand the full ministry and meaning behind the mission of our church, I deeply appreciate the “family” to which I belong. As in my own family, if there is a need I try to help.
There is a quote from the second century that goes something like this: “Those Christians ... see how they love everybody.”
As Christians, we are called to love; that’s part of our work on this earth. One of the ways I personally carry that out is by supporting the Annual Catholic Appeal. Dollars given to the diocese for its work strengthen and promote the ways we live the Gospel and can help us understand Jesus’ call to love. Training priests, providing religious education, printing the Inland Register, evangelizing, providing Catholic support on college campuses, are only a small part of programs and work that receive ACA funds. In all those areas, and many others, we try to live out the Good News. Jesus asks that we make wise use of this world’s goods; as I see it, the ACA is a very wise use.
I believe in the mission of Christ, and in the church to carry out that mission. My dollars, and the dollars of all the rest of us who contribute to the ACA, help make sure the Good News is lived out right here in our own diocese. How will anyone know the Good News of Jesus’ love if we don’t?