Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This weekend, I will be spending the day with hundreds of men from across the Diocese of St. Cloud for the annual Catholic Men’s Conference. In addition to celebrating Mass together, we will listen to nationally renowned keynote speaker Father Larry Richards and have an opportunity to attend workshops on topics ranging from prayer and marriage to faithful citizenship and the teachings of Pope Francis. There will also be time to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation.
Every year, the participants talk about how much they enjoy the camaraderie and time to refocus on spiritual priorities. A day like this is only possible, however, thanks to funding provided through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal and the generosity of all those who make an annual contribution to it.
The Men’s Conference isn’t the only ministry that benefits. The Appeal supports our Catholic schools and faith formation programs. It also helps our church to prepare men and women for marriage, strengthen family life, support seminarians, welcome the stranger, evangelize through a variety of communication tools, and plan for the pastoral care of all our parishes into the future. These are ministries that no single person or parish can do alone.
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal is essential in helping me to fulfill my responsibilities as your bishop to shepherd, teach and give pastoral care to the people in our diocese.
This year’s Appeal kicked off on the weekend of Feb. 6-7, and on the weekend of Feb. 13-14 you will be asked to prayerfully consider making a gift in support of the ministries it funds and the positive difference it is making in the lives of so many people — people in your own parish and in the bigger family of faith here in the diocese.
As I wrote in my recent pastoral letter to you, “Be Merciful, Just as Your Father is Merciful,” this Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis is an opportunity for all of us in the diocese to think concretely about our neighbors, their needs and the works of mercy we can do to help them meet those needs. We can help as individuals, as parishes and also as a diocese through the ministries funded by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.
If you are a regular contributor to the Appeal, thank you. Your generosity makes our church stronger as it works to build up the kingdom of God right here in central Minnesota. If you haven’t contributed to the Appeal in a while, or never before, please consider making a gift this year. Your participation is essential in helping to further the mission of the church in the diocese “for the glory of God.”
May God bless you and your loved ones in this holy season of Lent.
Bishop Donald J. Kettler