‘Get on board’ for this year’s Appeal

Archbishop Nienstedt

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

Something happened in this Arch­diocese on Wednesday, Feb. 23. Three hundred-plus Catholics board­­ed motor coaches in order to visit five destinations sponsored by the Catholic Services Appeal.

The idea was the brainchild of our chair couple for this year’s CSA, Pat and Mary Regan, who own the bus company and provided the buses.

Their concept was simple and straightforward: Let’s get people “on board” to see the actual sites where the CSA money is being spent.

And so, buses left from Lakeville, Burnsville, Savage, Eden Prairie, Anoka, Maple Grove, White Bear Lake, New Brighton, Hastings and Oakdale.

The sites visited were varied and vibrant: Risen Christ Catholic School, Blessed Trinity Catholic School, Ascension Catholic School, Seton Services of Catholic Charities and The Saint Paul Seminary.

After a brief introduction and tour, everyone got back “on board” and converged on the Basilica of St. Mary where a delicious pasta dinner awaited them, served by students from the very schools just visited.

Rich legacy

When I arrived for the dinner, the room was abuzz with excitement. It was as if we were all back in high school after a day’s field trip. The energy was palpable.

After dinner, testimonials from each ministry site were made. Again it was emphasized that the purpose of the CSA is to support ministries that no one single parish or one single individual can do. These are our “shared ministries” as an archdiocese.

For more than 41 years, Catholics have used this Appeal to build up the Body of Christ in this local church, sharing with those in need a portion of the gifts God has given to us. Over the years, literally hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters have been helped. It is a rich legacy indeed!

I hope you will have the opportunity to view the 2011 CSA DVD this weekend, March 5-6. It does a wonderful job of telling the CSA story from the viewpoint of those receiving our assistance. I thought it was a powerful message.

The following weekend, March 12-13, is our pledge Sunday when, either by mailing your pledge card before, bringing it with you to church or filling out a card in the pew, you can join in this tremendous campaign in Christ’s name.

Commitment is key

I ask you to consider prayerfully what gift you wish to make to the 2011 CSA. Remember: you can give over a period of time.

My first pastor taught me to donate at least 10 percent of my income to charity, i.e., 4 percent to my parish, 3 percent to the CSA and 3 percent to other charities. That’s a great formula. Of course, if you are able to give at a greater level, so much the better.

With your ongoing commitment, I know our 2011 CSA will be the most successful ever, thus enabling us to build up further the Body of Christ in this great Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In the words of Pat and Mary Regan, “Come along and get on board!”

God bless you!

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Category: Catholic Services Appeal, Only Jesus

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