November 19, 2021

United Catholic Appeal is ‘vital’ to ‘provide Catholic presence’

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson serves as principal celebrant at the Miter Society Mass in St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Church in Floyd County on Oct. 21. Concelebrating with him are Fathers William Marks, left, William Ernst, Anthony Hollowell, Stephen Banet, Daniel Atkins, Wilfred “Sonny” Day and Msgr. William F. Stumpf. Altar server Garrett Jennings holds the missal for the archbishop. (Submitted photo by Leslie Lynch)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson serves as principal celebrant at the Miter Society Mass in St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Church in Floyd County on Oct. 21. Concelebrating with him are Fathers William Marks, left, William Ernst, Anthony Hollowell, Stephen Banet, Daniel Atkins, Wilfred “Sonny” Day and Msgr. William F. Stumpf. Altar server Garrett Jennings holds the missal for the archbishop. (Submitted photo by Leslie Lynch)

By Leslie Lynch (Special to The Criterion)

FLOYD COUNTY—This year’s United Catholic Appeal theme is “United in the Eucharist.” That resonated deeply for the 65 people gathered for the Miter Society Mass at St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Church in southern Indiana on Oct. 21.

Motioning toward people clustered in conversation after Mass, Chuck Ledbetter of St. Michael Parish in Charlestown said, “We are united in the Eucharist, here—we are united in one body in Christ.”

People traveled from as far as Orleans and North Vernon to hear Archbishop Charles C. Thompson speak at the Mass and following dinner.

The United Catholic Appeal supports wide-ranging needs in the archdiocese. From formation of youth and seminarians, to serving the homeless, hungry and immigrants, to caring for retired priests—many of whom continue to serve parishes in various capacities—much is accomplished when all give what each is able.

“Every dollar donated to United Catholic Appeal goes to ministry,” said Archbishop Thompson.

“We like to make our donations where they make the biggest difference,” said Mary Kay Wolford. Her husband Carl added, “The United Catholic Appeal uses your gifts wisely. It’s very clear as to where and how the money is used.”

The Wolfords are members of Holy Family Parish in New Albany.

In his homily, Archbishop Thompson tied the theme of United in the Eucharist to the upcoming Eucharistic Revival that will begin in the United States next summer during Corpus Christi weekend.

“The Eucharist is our source and our summit,” he said. “It’s not a thing—it’s an event.

“Everything we need to understand about stewardship is found in the Eucharist. Christ freely gave his life for our salvation and we are all called to respond to that ultimate gift by loving God, serving our neighbors, and caring for all that has been entrusted to us.”

At the reception, Jolinda Moore, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development, noted, “Regardless of how disconnected we may have felt during these very difficult times, the fact is that we are always united together in the Eucharist. It is what truly binds us together. Now, more than ever, our community needs to see our strength and our goodness.”

The Miter Society is composed of United Catholic Appeal donors who have given $1,500 or more to the annual campaign.

“God has blessed us as a family, and we are very grateful,” said Larry Ricke of St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Parish. “The United Catholic Appeal provides extraordinary services to many people.”

Ledbetter agreed.

“Being good stewards is vitally important now, even more so than before,” he said. “We marginalized each other with the pandemic. We’ve operated in a fear mode. We need to recognize the presence of Christ, get rid of the fear.”

Archbishop Thompson praised the faithful in central and southern Indiana for its presence during the pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, what a witness our Church has been!” he said. “In our schools, our charities, our in-person worship, we didn’t slow down—we did more!

“How do we continue to provide Catholic presence as we come out of the pandemic? The United Catholic Appeal is vital.”

He again linked the appeal’s United in the Eucharist theme to stewardship.

“The Eucharist isn’t something that we just experience at Mass,” he said. “We need to respond to the Eucharist every day by going out into the world to gratefully share God’s gift to us. People don’t come into the Church unless we go out first.”

Archbishop Thompson highlighted some of the United Catholic Appeal’s fruits.

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is part of [the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops] Region 7, along with the rest of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Our archdiocese is number two for vocations.

“Last year, 867 veterans and 6,641 people with a disability received food, shelter and clothing from the Archdiocese’s Catholic Charities agencies. More than 800 homeless families received a safe place to rest. More than 48,000 people who were hungry were served hot meals. Countless mothers, after receiving support, chose life for their babies instead of abortion.”

Mark and Lisa Huber, members of St. Mary-of-the-Knobs, noted that their youngest son is a seminarian at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad.

“It’s been a challenging year and a half because of the pandemic,” said Lisa. “The archdiocese does a lot for seminarians and we appreciate that.”

Before introducing the archbishop, Moore highlighted a set of video stories produced for this year’s United Catholic Appeal.

“Each of the six stories show how we are united in the Eucharist though various ministries from all over our archdiocese. They cover discipleship, formation, service, youth, community, and outreach.”

“We must have a personal encounter with the second person of the Trinity before we can bring Jesus to others,” said Archbishop Thompson. “This is our call: to know him. That is the grace we need to carry out our work.”
 

(Leslie Lynch is a member of St. Mary Parish in Lanesville. For more information on the United Catholic Appeal, visit www.archindy.org/UCA or call the Office of Stewardship and Development at 317-236-1415 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1415.)

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