This year’s official kick-off of the Diocese of Duluth United Catholic Appeal will be on May 2, 2021. As a precursor to this start-up, I want to address our participation in this appeal and encourage your generosity, especially as we welcome our new bishop.
This year, our United Catholic Appeal goal for St. Benedict Parish is $65,854, an amount that is a slight increase over last year (of about $550). As of April 11, 2021, we have already received $12,340, or about 19% of the goal. Each year, the UCA provides for the ministries of the Diocese of Duluth on behalf of all the Catholic faithful of the 74 parishes in the diocese. As our new bishop-elect, Daniel Felton, will be ordained on May 20 and begin living the call to shepherd our diocese, it is very timely that we respond generously to this appeal to aid Bishop-elect Felton along with those who serve with him at the Diocese of Duluth Pastoral Center to carry out the mission of Christ and His Church.
In addition to the direct funding of the Office of the Bishop and of all his particular ministries, other ministries for which UCA provides funding include the offices of religious education, marriage and family life, Catholic schools, and communications – which produces our monthly diocesan newspaper The Northern Cross. In practice, these funds provide for many important endeavors, including the training of future priests and deacons, the formation of catechists, and opportunities for our youth.
As you receive this year’s mailing that details the ministries which are funded by the UCA and which invite your prayerful gift of yourself, I want to offer a personal word of encouragement on why our generosity in the UCA is so important. Mindful of how the last 13 months have been difficult for everyone, I want to encourage all not to be afraid to be generous for no other reason than aiding our new bishop in being able to hit the ground running, so to speak, and to begin as our shepherd in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Having already spent some fruitful time with him in the work of planning the ordination Mass for May 20, I sense that Bishop-elect Felton will be very generous in his service to the faithful of the diocese and take advantage of every opportunity to be present to the people, leading all of us closer to Jesus Christ. That said, I want to encourage everyone to anticipate his generosity toward us with our own generosity in offering from our resources toward the UCA.
As a guide toward giving to the UCA, I place before you a simple formula that I have used in the past to aid us in discerning our contributions: that is, for every $5 you offer to St. Benedict Parish in a month, I ask if would offer $1 toward the UCA goal each month. As our goal is an assessment based on the previous year’s ordinary income – which for 2021 our assessment is at a rate of just under 19% of the ordinary income from fiscal year 2020, this rate of 5:1 will insure that we are able to meet our goal without having a shortfall.
As I ask you to please pray for our Bishop-elect Felton and for our diocese as you also ask the Lord to guide you in your continued generosity to our parish and to the Diocese of Duluth in the United Catholic Appeal, I also thank you for all that you have offered and continue to offer to aid in making known the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that all might come to believe in the Good News!