September 30, 2005

Catholic Center employees kick off annual Called to Serve appeal

By Brandon A. Evans

A Sept. 20 luncheon at the Archbishop O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis was the official start of the 2005-06 Called to Serve: Parish Stewardship and United Catholic Appeal (UCA).

The annual appeal seeks not only to help Catholics serve their parish needs, but also to help the shared ministries and home missions of the archdiocese through the UCA, which has a minimum financial goal of $5.5 million this year.

The luncheon is a way for the employees of the archdiocese—mostly those who work at the Catholic Center—to take the lead in making a sacrifice for the good of others in the archdiocese.

It was also a chance to introduce this year’s co-chairs of the appeal, Dale and Teresa Bruns, members of Immaculate Conception Parish in Milhousen.

“We’re grateful we can support the shared ministries and home missions of our Church,” Dale Bruns said.

This year, the UCA will feature a greater emphasis on the home missions of the archdiocese—47 percent of the financial goal, or more than $2.5 million, is allotted for direct outreach to those parishes and schools.

“In the next few years,” said Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein at the luncheon, “we’re spending time educating people about the need to support our home missions. Those are parishes, schools and parish-based ministries of the archdiocese that have to be where they are in order to carry out the mission of the Church but can’t make it on their own.

“They require the generosity of other parishes and the greater community to accomplish Christ’s work,” the archbishop said.

In addition, the funds that a parish raises beyond its own goal can be donated to a separate fund which awards grants annually for home missions—the St. Francis Xavier Home Mission Fund.

For example, St. Paul School in New Alsace recently received a grant from this fund to help pay for a new fire alarm system.

The shared ministries of the archdiocese, which will benefit from 53 percent of the funds raised in the UCA, are those tasks so large that it takes many people to make them a reality—like Catholic education, seminarian education, family ministry, evangelization and Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities alone annually helps nearly 300,000 people; the job of educating Catholics in the faith encompasses more than 50,000 adults, youth and schoolchildren.

“Since all of us make up the body of Christ, we’re called to support our shared ministries—ministries that no one parish could support alone,” the archbishop said.

Two agencies that receive support from the UCA are Holy Family Shelter in Indianapolis, which also operates Holy Family Transitional Housing.

Rocio Camacho, who lives with her husband and son in the transitional housing, was on hand at the luncheon to speak from a prepared statement in her primary language is Spanish.

Her family came to the United States to help her son, who needed medical attention and surgery. Through the generosity of Catholics throughout central and southern Indiana, her family got the employment, health care, education and housing they needed.

“Just a few years ago we had nowhere to call home,” she said to those gathered at the luncheon. After that point, she broke into tears and had Bill Bickel, director of Holy Family Shelter, finish reading the comments, which amounted to thanks for the help her family had received.

“Please know how thankful we are,” Bickel said on behalf of all those at the shelter.

This is an unprecedented time to ask for help, he said, especially after so many natural disasters this year. He asked those present to be generous in their support.

Archbishop Buechlein held up—as a model of generosity—the Servant of God Simon Bruté, first bishop of Vincennes, whose Cause of Canonization was opened earlier this month.

“Wherever he was asked to serve, he did so generously, at his own health’s expense,” the archbishop said.

“One hundred seventy years ago, Bishop Bruté exercised an uncanny ability to find funds for a primitive Church that had no resources to carry on the ministry of Jesus,” he said. “As I’ve said before, as Bishop Bruté’s successors, we are challenged not only to secure but expand possibilities for Christ’s mission for the future.

“And as in the day of Bishop Bruté, we need resources to do what we are called to do by Christ.” †


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