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EDITORIAL | Generosity of those who give to Annual Catholic Appeal is a blessing to the Church

Appeal surpasses 2018 goal, with an expected total of $16 million

Irene Hamilin, a sophomore, smiled as she conversed with Sean O’Rourke, a campus minister at Catholic Student Center at Washington University. Students were waiting for Mass to begin with Father Gary Braun on Sept. 11. The Annual Catholic Appeal has helped the Catholic Student Center grow.
The success of the Annual Catholic Appeal is reason to give thanks for the generosity of the Body of Christ.

This year, the appeal raised almost $15.5 million from pledges and gifts for the immediate needs of the local Church’s ministries. Funding goes toward helping people living in poverty, pro-life and social justice issues, Catholic education and more. With estate gifts and anticipated matching gifts, the appeal total is expected to exceed $16 million.

Understandably for many, given the recent revelations of abuse by members of the clergy, it can be hard to see the face of Christ in the Church at this moment in time. It should be stressed that funding from the Annual Catholic Appeal is never used in defense or settlement of clergy abuse cases.

In a recent meeting with young adults, Pope Francis said that the best way to respond to sin and scandal is to live the faith as authentically as possible and witness to the world the love of Jesus. “If there is no witness, there is no Holy Spirit,” he said. “The Church without witness is just smoke.”

The Annual Catholic Appeal reveals the good works of the Church by serving others in need and building up the Body of Christ. Quite simply, it makes the mystical Body of Christ visible in a way that the world can understand.

This issue of the St. Louis Review shares several real-time stories about witnessing in the Church, including young adults at the Catholic Student Center at Washington University, whose spiritual needs are met because of support from the appeal. Sts. Teresa and Bridget Church in north St. Louis, which has a wide variety of ministries that reach both parishioners and a community in need in the neighborhood, has benefited from parish viability and emergency fund grants, too, for example.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear from St. Paul that “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

The people of the archdiocese continue to be generous with the mission of the Church. Now more than ever, we need to support the good works of the Church so the rest of the world can see Christ in us.

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