October 13, 2017

Archbishop Thompson celebrates first appeal Mass in New Albany

Jose Soto, left, Marisa Soto, both members of St. Ambrose Parish in Seymour, and Shirley Boardman, right, a member of St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, talk with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson during a Miter Society dinner on Sept. 26 at Holy Family Parish in New Albany. (Photo by Leslie Lynch)

Jose Soto, left, Marisa Soto, both members of St. Ambrose Parish in Seymour, and Shirley Boardman, right, a member of St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, talk with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson during a Miter Society dinner on Sept. 26 at Holy Family Parish in New Albany. (Photo by Leslie Lynch)

By Leslie Lynch (Special to The Criterion)

NEW ALBANY—Citing the service and sacrifice of two saints, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson encouraged members of the archdiocesan Miter Society to continue their commitment to the Church in central and southern Indiana.

The archbishop visited Holy Family Church in New Albany on Sept. 26 to celebrate his first archdiocesan United Catholic Appeal (UCA) Mass and Miter Society dinner. Members of the society contribute $1,500 or more to support the annual UCA and the ministries across the archdiocese it supports.

In his homily, Archbishop Thompson spoke of the service and sacrifice of saints Cosmas and Damian, whose feast day was commemorated on that day. Brothers, physicians and martyrs in the region of current day Turkey and Syria, the two provided medical care without payment and healed many in the name of Christ.

Archbishop Thompson reflected on their saintly example, particularly regarding the meaning and purpose of work. Known as “the moneyless ones, their gratuitous care for the sick” is a perfect model of the ideal of “missionary disciples [who] sacrifice for the sake of others,” a way of life which Pope Francis exhorts all Catholics to embrace, the archbishop said.

Miter Society members have donated approximately 40 percent of the overall gifts to the appeal in the past few years. No matter the source or amount, 100 percent of the money donated to the UCA goes directly to the services supported. These ministries and programs include Catholic education and faith formation; formation of future priests and deacons; support of retired priests; and programs that assist those most in need, such as refugee services, adult day care, food pantries, prison ministry and pregnancy support. The 2018 UCA goal is $6.5 million.

Following the liturgy, Archbishop Thompson spoke with several people in attendance in an effort to get to know his flock in the southern part of the state.

“We talked about living near the Ohio River, as he’s lived in Louisville and Evansville,” said Walter West, a member of St. Mary Parish in Lanesville. “We also discussed the important work the UCA does.”

Linda Smith, a member of St. Michael Parish in Bradford, expressed concern about retired priests: “They’ve done so much for us—led us in a life that will lead us to heaven. They don’t have anywhere to go when they retire, no mother house. We need to take care of them.”

Msgr. William F. Stumpf, archdiocesan vicar general, thanked everyone for “the countless ways you support your Church,” adding, “our goal is to make a difference in the lives of real people.” This year’s UCA video highlighted the many archdiocesan programs designed for “developing people to do so much more, to give back.”

In an address after the dinner, Archbishop Thompson noted the vital assistance to those in need made possible through the sacrifices of ordinary Catholics.

“We may not be called to be martyrs, but Pope Francis keeps asking us to be missionary disciples. All it takes is one good person to restore hope,” he said.

The archbishop referenced the pope’s encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” and noted the four crucial relationships mentioned: our relationships with God, others, self and creation. “If one relationship suffers, all [relationships] suffer.”

Quoting another statement in the document, he said, “Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.” Archbishop Thompson replaced the word “problem” with “person,” then asked, “How do we keep the person before us? The poor are not problems to be solved, but persons deserving of dignity.”

The archbishop concluded with these thoughts: “[The] United Catholic Appeal is about persons. Its programs exist to serve persons. The appeal is about souls, well-being and the dignity of persons. That’s what our time, talent and treasure are for—for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus through our programs.”
 

(Leslie Lynch is a freelance writer and a member of St. Mary Parish in Lanesville. For more on the archdiocesan United Catholic Appeal, go to www.archindy.org/uca.)

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