During November, parishes across the Diocese of Austin participate in the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). Now in its 35th year, the CSA has provided over $66 million of support to the ministries of the diocese. This year’s Appeal will help support many diocesan ministries, including a quality education for 46 seminarians, as well as thousands of students in our 23 Catholic schools; formation and education of deacons, catechists and lay ministers; care for our retired priests; and direct assistance to countless families in need through Catholic Charities.
Beyond supporting individual ministries, however, the CSA also helps bring about awareness of our faith to our diocese. This year’s theme, “Go and Make Disciples,” serves as a powerful reminder that we are all called to evangelize and share our faith.
“By faith, they (the Apostles) went out to the whole world, following the command to bring the Gospel to all creation (cf. Mk 16:15) and they fearlessly proclaimed to all the joy of the resurrection, of which they were faithful witnesses…Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy.” – Pope Benedict XVI, PORTA FIDEI
Now more than ever, as we prepare for the Year of Faith, we are aware of the need to share the Gospel message, not just within our own families and parishes, but within our entire, diocesan-wide Catholic family. We are reminded that it will take cooperation, sharing and compassion to ensure that the ministry of Christ continues throughout Central Texas. The CSA creates an opportunity to strengthen our Catholic faith by giving support to ministries with a diocesan-wide scope.
As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we each have our own roles. As parents, we have an obligation to nurture and support our children and to teach them about the faith. As parishioners, we find ways to live out our faith in our parish communities. As Catholics, we give generously – time, money, prayers and service – to our parishes, schools and diocesan communities. Our responsibility is clear – to continue the mission of Jesus. Our roles clearly define how we can make difference.
The Appeal provides Catholics a chance to be involved with such diverse ministries as the education of seminarians, Catholic schools, Catholic Charities, Hispanic ministry and youth ministry, to name a few. Jesus calls on the collective strength of individuals to form the body of Christ, our local church needs all parishioners in Central Texas to ensure the future of our ministries. It is this commitment to stewardship that allows the diocesan church to provide the necessary resources that one parish cannot possibly do alone.
Jesus has enjoined us to build up His Church on earth. He has also assured us that He has given us everything we need to face this and all challenges. At a time when needs are increasing and resources are limited, our generosity to the CSA not only brings the hope of Christ to individuals, families and parishes throughout our diocese but also demonstrates our own hope and trust in the Lord. Please prayerfully consider supporting the Catholic Services Appeal this November.