Archbishop's Appeal

The Archbishop’s Appeal is the annual fundraising campaign that provides supplemental financial assistance to institutions, programs and ministries affiliated with the Catholic Church throughout the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

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Encountering Christ in the many ministries funded by the Archbishop’s Appeal

January 27, 2015 | posted by Jordan McMorrough

Topics: Archbishops Appeal

Encountering Christ in the many ministries funded by the Archbishop’s Appeal

The 2014 Archbishop’s Appeal campaign has been the most successful to date. To express his sincere gratitude for their faithful support, and also to share his excitement in anticipation of what their generous and sacrificial giving will make possible in 2015, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, celebrated an appreciation Mass for appeal donors Jan. 17 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church.

In his homily, the archbishop asked listeners to imagine Jesus walking along the seashore as he encounters people and enters into dialogue with them. “It seems simple enough, does it not?” he asks. “However,” the prelate replied, “something deeper is happening. Jesus is not simply telling people to have a nice day. He is sharing the good news of God’s enduring love, compassion and mercy. Jesus is able to look into a person’s eyes, establish a true human connection, and gently lead the person into greater intimacy with his heavenly Father.”

In the Gospel at the liturgy, Mark 2:13-17, Christ encounters a toll or tax collector, someone who was working for the Roman occupation army. Such a person was considered the worst of sinners, a traitor to his people, someone who was greedy and cruel.

“But Jesus does not call down fire and brimstone on the man. He gently but firmly says two incredible words: Follow me. And Levi, son of Alphaeus, does something equally incredible: he follows Jesus!” Archbishop Gustavo exclaimed. “This is the most important encounter of his life, and he invites his friends to a dinner to celebrate the moment — but his friends are other tax collectors and public sinners. Some are scandalized that Jesus has entered such a person’s house and sits at table to enjoy a dinner there with ‘those people.’ Jesus’ explanation is also simple but profound — ‘I did not come to call the self-righteous but sinners.’”

The archbishop continued, “And, my sisters and brothers, we are all sinners.”

The epistle to the Hebrews reminds all that Jesus “is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is best by weakness.”

“The Son of God is fully human, like us in every way except sin,” explained Archbishop Gustavo. “He has walked the highways and the byways proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed — healing, teaching, guiding, casting out demons, feeding the multitude, embracing the whole world with God’s enduring love as he hung upon the cross.”

Jesus, stressed the archbishop, says to us today: Follow me. Follow my example. “Go out and encounter those who are needy and vulnerable, dialogue with people whose beliefs and values and skin color or language may be different from yours,” he challenged the faithful.

Pope Francis has often described his vision of an effective church, faithful to the Gospel — a field hospital on the battlefield where we are to take care of the wounded as we encounter them. Once they are whole, he has said, we can check their cholesterol.

“The Archbishop’s Appeal is an important vehicle that allows us as a community of faith to go out, encounter, dialogue with others about the Gospel,” emphasized Archbishop Gustavo. “Not to proselytize, but to attract them to God’s church.”

The appeal helps fund priestly ministries, supports seminarians, helps provide social services, finances evangelization and outreach programs, supports pastoral ministries, education and parish stewardship/grant acquisition.

This past year the appeal exceeded its goal of $4 million by over $900,000. The number of donors has also increased. The goal for 2015 is $4.5 million, and the motto for this year’s campaign is “Transforming the Future.”

“I am very, very grateful to all of you who have made the appeal a great success this past year, and I know I can count on your assistance this year as well,” the archbishop concluded. “We have a sacred obligation to listen attentively to Jesus words — follow me — and to follow him, holding nothing of ourselves back!”

A reception followed the Mass in the St. Mark’s Parish Hall.