Building his church–Fulfilling his mission These words so beautifully capture the essence of what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and what it takes to truly follow the one who lovingly spread his arms upon the cross for our salvation. It is through our charitable works and deeds that we are able to put our faith into action. From one county to the next, in the 19-counties in our diocese, we see how the Annual Catholic Appeal fulfills the mission of Jesus by transforming the lives of people who are marginalized, impoverished, poor in spirit, imprisoned, disabled, and homeless. We also hear how the Appeal builds His Church by forming holy disciples, families and vocations, in particular, making more attainable the pursuit of a vocation to the priesthood or permanent diaconate. Our Annual Catholic Appeal invites us to rejoice in God’s gracious love for us, and so to be moved to serve our neighbors in need. As we build His Church, as we are renewed in His mission, we experience an extraordinary grace and spiritual renewal which inspires those holy disciples, holy families, and holy vocations which will make us a holier Diocese of Toledo. In the words of Pope Francis, let us ask ourselves “Are we faithful to God’s plan? The evangelization of the poor, bringing them Good News?” My fervent prayer is that each one of us in the Diocese of Toledo, lay faithful, consecrated religious, permanent deacons and priests would make this our priority. I ask you prayerfully to consider a generous gift towards this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal. May God bless you for your charity and of your commitment to Build His Church and fulfill His Mission. My name is Larry Zackrich. I’m in my third year of candidacy, which is our last year of the deacon formation program. It was something that i considered and thought about that over several years. It wasn’t something that hit me like a lightning bolt. But i found myself drawn more and more into the activities of the church, closer and closer to being involved in various ministries. Well, i think it is important, of course, that people support the local parish. But at the same time, the diocese also supports those parishes. And so the diocese needs contributions to help fund some of their services. Some of the ways they’re able to assist in the ministry that goes on in each of the various parishes. And there are a lot of churches in the diocese. And so, as the generosity of people who contribute is directly payments that go to the diocese in Toledo, those dollars very quickly turn into programs and ministry that are then shared outward to each of the various parishes. My discernment process really began in this church. I was born in Tiffin, baptized in Tiffin. I remember serving in the parish when i went to grade school here. And so I always had a relationship with christ that I wanted to develop more and more. With the diaconate formation, it’s really an extension of the sacraments in my life of receiving God’s love and generosity, following the shepherd of our diocese. And each of us approaches that in the way that god calls us, and no two calls are identical. So I hear Christ’s call to me, and I’m not sure where I’ll be led. And really that’s not important. What’s important is for me to follow where i’m lead, with faith and trust. The diaconate is not preparation to serve in a specific parish. It is preparation to serve in the diocese. And wherever the holy spirit leads the bishop to place us, that’s where we’ll serve. So i’m not being prepared and being discerning for a vocation to a parish, but to the diocese. And therefore, the entire formation process really is a diocesan effort. And all of the expenses therefore are carried by the diocese, and not by a local parish. As a deacon candidate in formation for the last few years, i’ve come to appreciate how much the diocese contributes to that process. We have twenty men in our class that are headed toward ordination, and all of us, the expenses of that program are pretty high. And you multiply it over the course of several years, and so I’ve really come to appreciate. We get every year, a statement from the diocese of here’s how much you owe for this year’s program. And they also show on there the deduction that’s been taken already, because the annual appeal has already covered those costs. And frankly, a lot of the men wouldn’t be able to stay in the program if the diocese wasn’t contributing to it. You know, when we talk about the need for priests. You know, without the priests we don’t have the Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, that’s Jesus Christ, we don’t have it. And so, we of course we can pray, and we can take that time in prayer with him. But we need also that support for allowing us to have priests. And what the ACA allows us to do is really to get time to train our priests to provide that opportunity. Specifically, when you think about tuition, you think of books required. All that is covered through the ACA, as well as all retreats. So for example, getting ready for ordination, to diaconate, and now to the priesthood. When people give to the ACA, they’re really investing in the future faith of the diocese. They’re investing in the people who are going to come and baptize their children. They’re investing in the people who are coming to marry their children, to hear confessions, to celebrate mass. It helps make possible the studies that we undertake to become priests. Through studying not for yourself. You’re studying first of all for christ and his church, but more specifically for the Diocese of Toledo, for the parishes in our diocese. For all those people who have generously given their faith and given their money to help us grow, to help us come back and serve them. Bridget and I have been involved with some type of marriage ministry for about eight years.>>And just, when this came about, it was, “wow, this is a really great program.” It’s great to share this with engaged couples, to show them stay married and want to stay married, and those tools that they need to just strengthen their marriages as they get going. And it does benefit every parish in the nineteen counties of our diocese. From Delphos to Defiance, to Sandusky, to Mansfield. We just especially see that in the marriage program that we’re involved with. Because it is really spread through the entire diocese.>>Marriage is a very important part of our church, and we need to uphold that. You know, we’ve definitely seen that affect all of our engaged couples and our marriages. It comes back to us here and our parish. Catholic charities saved my life. I was always self-sufficient, and in a way, I had to be humble about it and i decided I needed help. There are a lot of times I wouldn’t have been able to get my medicine, or I wouldn’t have been able to pay my rent. Or you talk about dental, and you talk about going to the eye doctor. Those are all things that Catholic Charities was able to help me in.>>Gerri is very exciting. She has just bloomed out and is enjoying her life. She is able to attend our workshops and our one-on-one conversations. And has gone from a lady that is a little bit scared of her future to a lady that is very comfortable with her future.>>Because there are so many people in Richland County that Catholic Charities has helped, including myself.>>When you are struggling, you lose faith in yourself. You lose faith in God. So it’s encouragement is the common thread that we give to everyone who walks through our door, everyone that we meet in the community with our outreach projects.>>She’s helped me a lot.>>The importance of donations can’t be expressed enough. It would take a mom with a newborn baby that is about to become homeless and put her in the situation where she still has a roof over her head.>>I was working at a factory and they wasn’t paying me very well, so i talked to her about training jobs. So i’ve went. Now i’m working for Tim Horton’s. And I’ve worked for them, was there two months, got in as head baker. Went from head baker to now we’re in Ashland. Opened a new store in ashland. So I went from head baker to bakery another store and now I’m full management.>>We encourage people that god loves them, we love them.>>And I couldn’t ask for a better service here in Mansfield.>>Joyce’s brother was concerned about her ability to stay at home alone, and he lives in another state. So he got the nearest VA home for her and that’s how she came to come here.>>I was in Ft. McClellan Alabama. I was a flapjack flapper. And my last name is Cook. Cook The Cook. (laughs.)>>A lot of people have their own families to help with them. But in various locations there is not any family involvement. And when there isn’t any family involvement, that’s when we get a call and are asked if we’ll be that person to step in and be their family for them.>>You’re very special.>>You’re very special too. I was drawn to family camp because of my daughter, who has significant disabilities. And it was an opportunity to connect with other families who also have children with disabilities. I discovered a lot of comeraderie among the families who were attending the camp. We understood situations with our children that maybe are not always understood by people who don’t have the same experiences that we do. We had an opportunity to play together, to pray together, to have a mass that particular weekend. We did all the usual camp things like kayaking, fishing, swimming, campfires, hayrides. Plus we had a couple of educational opportunities, specifically for the parents of children. And then we also had a wonderful session for the siblings, so that they could get to know each other as well. The money given by the Annual Catholic Appeal is used for the room and board, for meals, for arts and crafts. All kinds of different things that make camp what it is. It’s important to fund the Annual Catholic Appeal at the parish level because for one thing, the family camp is diocesan-wide. So within the nineteen counties of the diocese, there is a wide representation of people who are attending. The direct benefit for myself and my daughter is the acceptance and the comaraderie among the families who are in attendance there.