September 9, 2005

Seeking the Face of the Lord

Participation in campaign will help our Church
carry on Christ’s mission

Since the grounding of our Church in Indiana under the courageous leadership of Bishop Simon Bruté in 1834, faithful people—clergy, religious and laity—have carried on the mission of Christ. We are the beneficiaries of the fidelity, generosity and courage of countless ancestors. We stand on their shoulders. And now, conscious of our roots, we are the shoulders for our children and generations to come.

In 1834, the needs for ministry were many. The needs in our expanded local Church have more than kept pace with the growth of the population in central and southern Indiana. And we continue to grow.

In 1834, Bishop Bruté exercised an uncanny ability to find funds for a primitive Church that had virtually no resources to carry on the ministry of Jesus. Because of hard work, a bold vision, sacrifice and faith in God, in just five years, resources began to be found to establish a missionary apostolate.

As successors to the hard work and vision of our founding bishop and those who were co-workers with him in the Lord’s Indiana vineyard, we are challenged not only to secure but to expand possibilities for Christ’s mission for the future. For certain, we live in an era when material resources are more bountiful. We also live in an era that seems to be more materialistic and secular in attitude and values.

One can argue the point that while more material resources will be available for our children, the values of our society are not promising for their future. Spiri­tual and moral values are threatened; in fact, the very meaning of life itself seems to be in the shadows. The prevailing worldview is one without God: all the more reason for us to fortify Christ’s mission in our midst.

In order to foster the mission of Christ, in order to evangelize our challenging culture, now and for the future we are launching a bold campaign that we are calling the “Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future.”

As in the days of Bishop Simon Bruté, our Church must carry on Christ’s mission in the real world. Like any other venture in the real world, we need resources to do what Christ calls us to do. The money we contribute to the campaign will support the spiritual life of our mission. The resources we share will enable our pastoral mission almost entirely in our parishes because that is where the Church thrives.

Through a lengthy process of discernment and planning, the present and future needs for ministry in central and southern Indiana were evaluated by pastors and lay leadership. It should surprise no one that the needs for ministry are far greater than a capital campaign can hope to meet. And so time and energy went into determining the priority of needs.

On the front page of this issue of The Criterion, details of the ministries to be funded are named and explained. Other materials will also provide detailed information. Special emphasis on supporting a variety of ministries that serve the poor is central in the Legacy for Our Mission campaign.

Campaign goals are challenging. They are determined by the needs for ministry. There is also a rule of thumb that has proven itself over the years. A parish goal can usually be expected to equal 150 percent of what is contributed annually in the weekly offertory collection. We also look at the track record of previous efforts. Our last campaign demonstrated that our local Catholic parishioners are very generous. In our campaign of almost 10 years ago, parishioners pledged more than $87 million.

I hope all of you are passionate, as I am, about meeting the needs of our home missions here in our own archdiocese. We need to care for our poor—a charge Christ has given us. We care for the poor by providing for their immediate needs, but we also provide for the poor by giving them a good education and moral and spiritual formation in our parish programs and schools.

Recognizing that all of us are spiritually and morally in need, I am sure we agree that our Church is called to serve everyone, the affluent and poor alike.

We need to keep in mind, always, that the purpose of the Legacy for Our Mission campaign is to further the spiritual mission that Christ gave to our Church and that our pioneer Bishop Simon Bruté inaugurated here in 1834. It is most important that all of us participate in this campaign, first of all, by praying for God’s blessing on us.

I urge us to especially seek the blessing of God through the intercession of St. Joseph, St. Francis Xavier and Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin. †


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