Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Each year at this time, I speak to you about the ministries funded by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. These ministries provide essential education, pastoral care and other assistance to thousands of people across our 16-county diocese. Your generosity makes this work possible. Before I say anything else, I want to say “thank you.” Without you, the services these ministries provide wouldn’t be possible.
The theme for the 2022 Bishop’s Annual Appeal is “Believe. Celebrate. Live.” It’s rooted in our beliefs about the centrality of the Eucharist to our life of faith. I am reminded of the words from John’s Gospel: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
At each and every Mass, Christ becomes truly and fully present to us when the bread and wine are transformed into his body and blood. This encounter with Jesus, through his self-giving sacrifice, feeds us, strengthens us and compels us to offer ourselves likewise in love and service to all we encounter.
“Believe. Celebrate. Live.” describes our response to this sacred mystery, the source and summit of our faith. The ministries supported by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal bring people closer to Christ and share his Good News.
These ministries are responsible for the diocesan TV Mass, which allows homebound parishioners to stay connected to their faith, and Regional Ministry Gatherings that offer continuing education and share best practices for ministry.
Diocesan offices coordinate men’s and women’s conferences, and keep you connected with the life of the Church through The Central Minnesota Catholic magazine. A portion of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal is distributed directly to parishes to assist Catholic schools and religious education programs.
Gifts to the Appeal support other faith formation opportunities, marriage preparation courses, respect-life efforts, vocational discernment, multicultural outreach, and ministries to those on the peripheries.
This year, diocesan staff members are also coordinating two initiatives that will help our efforts to build strong, evangelizing, mission-driven parishes and Area Catholic Communities. These initiatives are the synod process that Pope Francis has asked every diocese in the world to undertake, and a three-year National Eucharistic Revival that begins later this year.
I invite you to participate in one of the local consultation opportunities that will be held across our diocese as part of the synod process. These are opportunities for sharing, listening and discerning where the Holy Spirit is leading the Church today. What we learn from these gatherings will help our ACCs and the diocese plan for the future. The information will be shared with the rest of the Church in the lead-up to the next world Synod of Bishops in 2023.
We’ve also started planning for the National Eucharistic Revival, which involves Catholics throughout the United States. This will be a wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about the Eucharist as our faith’s greatest of gifts — one that unites and strengthens us as the people of God called to live holy lives in service to others. You will be hearing more about the revival in the coming months.
I ask you to please prayerfully discern a gift to the Appeal and join others around the diocese in supporting its work. Your gift will only be used for Appeal ministries and not for any other purpose. I also invite you to send me your prayer intentions through the Appeal materials you’ll be receiving.
May God bless you and your loved ones as we approach the holy season of Lent. Please pray for our Church, for one another, and for the continued success of our parish and diocesan ministries in meeting the spiritual needs of all God’s people.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud