October 21, 2022

United Catholic Appeal focuses on unity in the Eucharist

Andi Byrne, left, and her parents, Pat and Brenda Byrne, enjoy each other’s company during the Oct. 6 United Catholic Appeal dinner at St. Mary of the Knobs Parish in Floyd County, where they all are members. (Submitted photo by Leslie Lynch)

Andi Byrne, left, and her parents, Pat and Brenda Byrne, enjoy each other’s company during the Oct. 6 United Catholic Appeal dinner at St. Mary of the Knobs Parish in Floyd County, where they all are members. (Submitted photo by Leslie Lynch)

By Leslie Lynch

FLOYD COUNTY—The annual archdiocesan United Catholic Appeal (UCA) offers members of the Church in central and southern Indiana an opportunity to serve their neighbors.

And it is through those actions that the faithful are the hands and feet of Christ to those in need, noted Archbishop Charles C. Thompson.

Celebrating the annual UCA Mass for Miter Society members in southern Indiana at St. Mary of the Knobs Church on Oct. 6, the archbishop began his homily by quoting Pope Francis: “Those who pray are never alone.”

Archbishop Thompson urged those present to ask, seek, knock and persist.

“Let us remain intentional in our unity: one in Christ, one in love, one in our service to our neighbor,” he said. “Let us be persistent in faith and bold in our witness.”

The Miter Society Mass and dinner acknowledge those who donated at least $1,500 to the annual United Catholic Appeal, which has a goal of $6.3 million this year. This year’s theme is “United in the Eucharist: Being united today helps bring others hope for tomorrow.”

“Everything we need to understand about stewardship is found in the Eucharist,” Archbishop Thompson said in remarks after the dinner. “Christ freely gave his life for our salvation. 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.”

He referenced a prayer attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila: “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on Earth but yours; yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world …,” as he spoke of the outreach the UCA provides.

It provides veterans and people with disabilities food, shelter and clothing and shelters homeless families. It serves hot meals and provides food through pantries. The appeal supports Catholic education in schools as well as catechetical training. Financial support is given to seminarians at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad. Funds are also used to care for retired priests, who have devoted their lives in service to others.

Appeal funds help to teach life skills to help people stay out of poverty and helps countless young women chose life for their babies. It helps resettling refugees and supports archdiocesan parishes that bring the good news, and the UCA helps many others through its support of ministries throughout central and southern Indiana.

“Every dollar raised for the United Catholic Appeal goes to ministry,” the archbishop noted. “Ministries supported by the UCA make it possible to address the needs and concerns of life and dignity of so many people throughout the archdiocese.”

Jolinda Moore, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development, said, “We conduct the appeal for the sole purpose of serving others.”

She spoke of the relief a mother feels when she has ample food for her children or of a child who doesn’t have to sleep in a van, thanks to assistance made possible by the UCA.

She also highlighted the ministry of St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities in New Albany. This nine-building campus serves women of southern Indiana and nearby Louisville, Ky., with residential and

non-residential programs around maternity, adoption, parenting, domestic violence, education, interim housing and material needs such as diapers, cribs and other necessities.

In a video shown during a reception following the Mass, archdiocesan chancellor Christopher Walsh said St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities “speaks to how we speak the Christian message to others through our actions.”

Andi Byrne, a member St. Mary of the Knobs Parish, said, “I didn’t realize the extent of the outreach of the United Catholic Appeal. I am grateful for gifts given to me through the Church, and for the witness of other people. I want to share what I can.”

Tyler Huber is an archdiocesan seminarian from St. Mary of the Knobs Parish in his third year of formation at Saint Meinrad.

“This is my pastoral year, and I’m assigned to St. Mary [Parish] in Rushville,” he said. “By providing for tuition for seminarians, the United Catholic Appeal frees us from worry about [tuition] and allows us to discern the answer to the question God has placed before us. It’s crucial to be free of distraction and anxiety as we discern.”

He smiled, nodded toward several retired priests in attendance, and added, “Of course, providing for our priests in retirement is the least we can do.”

Harriet Neill, a member of St. Michael Parish in Cannelton, attended the liturgy and dinner with her sister, Sarajane Damin.

“We support all the work of Catholic Charities in caring for those in need,” Neill said. “There are so many people in our area who need food and shelter. We are honored to be able to help.”

Archbishop Thompson noted in his homily, “No catechesis means anything until one encounters the person of Jesus, until there is a relationship.” He said those relationships begin when “we are Christ’s hands and feet” to those around us.

At the dinner following the Mass, Archbishop Thompson noted that the Eucharist “isn’t something we experience just at Mass. We respond to the Eucharist every day by going out into the world to gratefully share God’s gifts to us,”—a mission made possible through the United Catholic appeal.

(Leslie Lynch is a member of St. Mary Parish in Lanesville. To learn more about the United Catholic Appeal, go to www.archindy.org/UCA or call the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development at 800-382-9836, ext.1415.)

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