Annual Catholic Appeal 2014 – Diocese of Madison

By | August 31, 2019

The Beacon of Faith and the Fire of Charity are very biblical, and in a way they
sum up the whole Christian message. The reason
why we choose to focus on that this particular year is that one of the major points that
Pope Francis is trying to get us to see is that the Beacon of Faith and the Fire of Charity work together. So there’s very much a spiritual
side to the ACA which then feeds into the concrete offering that we invite Catholics in the Diocese to make in this
particular year. The work of charity is so important and
essential to the life of the Parish. Not only for the needs of others who are receiving it, but for the active participation of the parishioners. To say God has blessed me with so much I have a need to share and I’m grateful
to share. It’s that line from the letter of John:
we love because God first loved us. And that’s a great starting point of
what it is to be a Beacon to Charity. At Catholic Charities’ adoption program we
create families through adoption. We get to work with these wonderful
families who will jump through any hoops possible
finding stable loving forever homes for children. It’s really been
neat to see both adults and kids get to do things for the first time that you and I would take for granted.
Such as have a birthday party with friends over, go on a vacation, get their first job and
their first paycheck. In my job I’m impacted everyday. It can be
from the simple things that a member comes into my office and shows me a craft
project that they just did that they never thought they could do. To a family member calling me and just
thanking us for what we do and for being there, and providing so much care for their
loved ones. And their loved ones coming home with a smile on their face. I see the light of Christ in works of
service and acts of charity as people respond from that place of deep
gratitude. To see people who have experienced God’s
great mercy and God’s great forgiveness through their own past and they become a
beacon of light as they share that light and that experience in that hardship
through their own witness in daily life. I experience the light of Christ in my
ministry by people coming to Mass to celebrate
the Eucharist with us. When I show up in this the
class room for religious education how they are full with questions. I see in
their faces how they are hungry for God and for the
Eucharist. We need to educate the adults so the adults
can also in their turn educate their children. It’s a spiritual work of mercy to spread the truth about the purpose
of marriage and NFP is a way to become more physically sensitive to the science behind bringing forth
children into the world. Naturally family planning can give spouses
an opportunity to communicate in a way that they maybe wouldn’t have. We’re talking
about couples being able to plan their family based on the biology
the science that we understand coming as a gift from God. When one finds ones vocation they find
ultimate joy. To be married, or religious, or a priest is to answer God’s call. When we answer
that we’re joyful. That doesn’t mean that every day is going to
be joyful, but it means that when we find our
vocation we will have true joy within ourselves. My friendship with father John allowed the
Holy Spirit to move me deeper into my vocation, I think primarily through allowing me to see
who a priest really is and what he really does. I think Phil has such a great personality for being a priest because no matter who he talks to he has a way
of relating to them. Father John has helped me to see that a
priest has weaknesses, a priest has strengths, a priest is going
to suffer and have difficulties and he’s gonna
have great joys and times of rejoicing with his people. I always think it’s interesting how God works through different people in your
lives. I met father Silva through Philip. And it was nice to get to know him as a
priest, but it’s also nice to know him as a
human being. When it comes to moving from place to
place Christ had no place to lay his head. It’s an obedience to God’s will that he calls me wherever he needs me. And I feel like the Diocese of Madison was a place
where he needed me the most and I was happy to go wherever
he wanted me to be to serve God’s people. I went to Saint Clements grade school as
a child, it’s certainly a great experience. There’s a lot that I learned
about growing in maturity. But I think one of
the most important things in regards to especially my vocation is my
first encounter with Christ calling me towards
him was attending Mass both at school and at Sunday Liturgies. Bringing the kids to the Catholic education was a blessing and accomplishment. You
start to build something and you have to put the foundation first.
It is going to last a lifetime. A Catholic school’s the best place for me to be because it teaches me how to respect
people and to like them for who they are. I catch myself wanting to help people.
When I see someone homeless on the street I want to give them money. And when I go to a daycare center I want to
teach them about Christ. I wish for my kids to know how excited and how happy and how blessed we were to start a new life in this country. Albania used to be a communist country.
They didn’t let us believe in God. They took this away from us, not from
our hearts though. And here we found what we lost. When I look into the eyes of kids I think the the light of Christ that really communicates to me is that life is
worth living. You see the joy in their eyes especially when they are discovering new things. And I pray that I I never lose
that. I pray that Catholics in general will never lose that reality. That joy of discovering the newness of Christ. Because we’re all children of God. This ACA is a call to every Catholic in the Diocese of Madison. To make sure that he or she listens to the Word of God, receives the Beacon of Faith, and then translates it into the Fire of Charity in his or her own life. I ask that all Catholics in the diocese examine their consciences as I have to
examine mine about my responsiveness to the Light
of Christ, to the Beacon of Faith. And does my response really
lead me into unselfish, good works for others. And of course is then the
invitation to all Catholics in the Diocese of Madison to give generously in so far as they
are able. So that we can reach out with the
Fire of Charity to so many who are in need.

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