How does the Bishop’s Annual Appeal help real people in our diocese? Here are just a few stories of local folks who have been impacted, and in turn, have an impact on others, because of the generous donors who support the Annual Appeal.
“We have a conundrum. In the 20-plus years I have served in music and liturgical ministry, there has been a dramatic shift in our parishes. The Catholic Mass was the heart of our community, where we would gather with our family or friends and celebrate the Eucharist. Now the boundaries of parishes are shifting and changing faster than anyone can keep up. We no longer know everyone in our faith community. How can we keep our communities together, centered around Christ? It was a perpetual topic of discussion at our leadership meetings.
“In January, I attended a Regional Ministry Gathering where I attended a session on ‘radical hospitality’ with Aaron Carpenter, diocesan director of worship. He drew together ministers from all over the diocese with vast experience in a variety of ministries and facilitated the sharing of wisdom from these ministers. He asked: ‘What does “radical hospitality” mean to you?’ ‘What does it look like?’ ‘How can we be radical?’ What followed was an amazing conversation, giving each of us tools to take back to our parishes.
“Aaron was invited to bring this discussion to the Rich Spring Prairie Catholic Community. We are a fairly new community, formed just under two years ago. While all of us belong to Christ, belonging to an Area Catholic Community opens doors to meeting new members of this community and being challenged to look at how we — a Benedictine community that values hospitality — demonstrate hospitality. Aaron facilitated the discussion, which not only brought members of the three parishes together, but also helped us realize how we, in our unique ministries, can live radical hospitality. He really helped build a bridge in our community. Hospitality is so much more than greeting a person at the door. It is how we share space (or a pew), proclaim the Word, pray together in song, share the Eucharist. Inspired and encouraged by Aaron, on Holy Thursday we celebrated a truly bilingual liturgy, where parishioners were invited to sing and pray in their native language — at the same time. It was beautiful! This is only the beginning.”
— JULIE LUDWIG, pastoral leader for liturgical ministries, Rich Spring Prairie Catholic Community (Richmond, Cold Spring, Jacobs Prairie)
“For the past 32 years, I have traveled extensively for my job. Although I prefer a pew for Sunday Mass, I’ve often found myself sitting in an airplane at 35,000 feet while our parish pastor is delivering his weekly homily. The ebb and flow associated with a hectic schedule has made my faith journey challenging. Judging by the number of folks I see hustling through airports on a Sunday these days, my case is not unique.
“The St. Cloud Diocese TV Mass has been integral to my spiritual pursuit now for the past few years. Many area Catholics are familiar with the weekly broadcast on KSTC-TV at 11 a.m. each Sunday morning. The programmed broadcast is delivered weekly in homes and in a myriad of care-centered facilities throughout central Minnesota.
“The less recognized, but often more versatile outlet, however, is the internet broadcast of the same TV Mass — directly accessible from the Diocese of St. Cloud website: http://worship.stcdio.org/tv-mass.
“The St. Cloud Diocese TV ministry has thrown a lifeline into our mobile world with this added offering. They have adapted — using technology to deliver flexibility to those seeking a dynamic connection to their Catholic roots. The TV ministry has helped me weather the demands of my work life without sacrificing important elements of my faith life.”
— ALAN REISCHL, professional pilot, St. Francis Xavier, Sartell
GROWING IN FAITH
“Over the past few years, I’ve attended the Men’s Conference, usually with friends from Long Prairie. There’s usually pretty good Catholic teachings and encouragement. But it seems that, more and more, I enjoy visiting with old and new friends with whom I share the same faith. This year, I decided my son, Joe, was old enough to come with me. I want to help my kids grow in their faith. He seemed a little reluctant to come, but in the end, he said he enjoyed it, and was glad he came, too.”
— MARK LIEBSCH, St. Mary of Mount Carmel, Long Prairie