Bishop's Annual Appeal
Dear Friends in Christ,
From the very moment the diocesan campaign to build a new cathedral, gathering hall and parking facility was announced, I promised that all efforts to promote the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) would not be diminished in anyway whatsoever. The reason for that promise is most evident: the Bishop’s Annual Appeal is essential to support the 30 plus pastoral ministries of our diocese, especially the great work and outreach of Catholic Charities. To that end, I am pleased to report that, as stated, first funds of the diocesan campaign have been utilized to meet the 6 million dollar goal of the 2012 BAA.
While our work for the diocesan cathedral campus campaign is ongoing, our focus now must be on the 2013 BAA. In the thirty plus years of the BAA, we have never missed our goal. This year can be no different!
The BAA theme highlights that we are journeying with Catholics throughout the world on the Year of Faith. Our theme is: Rooted in Faith: Revealed in Love. Our concern for others, especially those in most need, is rooted in our belief that we are all members of God’s family and that no one should be excluded from our care. The BAA provides a magnificent opportunity to demonstrate that faith and to reveal that love.
The BAA’s emphasis this year on worship, evangelization and charity helps us to celebrate this joyful season of Easter. Our worship gives thanks and praise to God for the new life that is ours in our Risen Lord. Through His suffering, death and resurrection, He has proven victorious over the powers of this world and his victory is ours! Our worship draws us into His presence and allows us to receive the graces we need so to celebrate His saving power in our lives. In this Year of Faith and in this holy season, we promise anew to be consistent in our worship, to attend Mass each week, to pray fervently and to give thanks always to the Lord our God for all His goodness. I am grateful to all those involved in the diocesan ministries supported by the BAA that seek to enhance and enrich our worship.
In this Year of Faith, we also heed the call to participate in evangelization. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have taught us much about the “new evangelization.” The Truth of the Gospel is not new. That is eternal. What is new are the means we use to effectively bring the Gospel to others. I am proud of those ministries supported by the BAA that help us to utilize the social media and various forms of communication to teach and to evangelize. Our evangelization must also include our personal invitations to family members, parishioners and neighbors who may have grown lukewarm in the faith or maybe even wandered away from it to return to the Lord and His Church. In doing so, we must assure them of God’s desire to embrace them in love and of the longing of our parish communities to welcome them home with great joy. We can never underestimate the difference a personal invitation can make. God will miraculously use the seeds we plant.
Our love for God is clearly expressed in our love for our neighbor, most especially those who need us the most. When we reach out in charity to serve the poor, the hungry and the most vulnerable in society, our faith is certainly put into action for we know that whatever we do for our sisters and brothers, we do for the Lord. With all of you, I express profound thanks for the great works of Catholic Charities in our diocese, which is s supported tremendously by the BAA. Last year alone, Catholic Charities provided assistance to over 60,000 needy individuals of all faiths across Eastern North Carolina while orchestrating over 1,800 volunteers. Now, that is faith in action!
Throughout this Year of Faith, in this season of Easter and always, may we be rooted in faith and may that faith be revealed in the love we have for God and one another. With the grace and strength of God, may we offer fitting worship and praise to God; may we participate with zeal in the works of evangelization and may we demonstrate our faith in and through the works of charity. In doing so, we celebrate the new life that is our in Christ Jesus, our Risen Lord!
May Our Lord Jesus bless you with the gifts of His peace and may Mary Our Mother watch over you always.
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh