My dear people of St. Mary’s,
This week I will be speaking at each of the masses as we begin the Catholic Ministries Appeal for 2018. Each year you, the people of St. Mary’s, have been very generous to the Appeal. Last year the goal set for us by the diocese was $56,400.00, and we received some $69,760.00 in contributions. This means that as a parish we came in at $13,360.00 (123.7%) over our goal. This money is not only a necessary revenue for the diocese, but is also tremendously important to us here at St. Mary’s as well.
As you may recall, when a parish meets 100% of its goal, it receives 20% of that money back. And, for every dollar over goal, the parish receives 80% back. Consequently, last year because of your generosity, the Diocese of Rockville Centre received from our parish $47,852.00, and St. Mary’s received $21,908.00 in return. So, you not only gave generously to the diocese, but to us as well!
The Catholic Ministries Appeal is necessary because there are certain things that simply cannot be done on the parish level, or for which the parishes need diocesan assistance. The Diocese of Rockville Centre is one of the largest and most complex dioceses in the country. Our diocese has nearly 1.5 million Catholics spread out over two large counties, with 133 parishes in 115 towns. Some 413,000 Catholic households are served by 351 priests, 980 religious women, 67 brothers and 292 permanent deacons in active ministry.
In the area of education, the Diocese of Rockville Centre serves 16,047 students in 47 Catholic elementary schools, and 11,470 students in 10 Catholic high schools, all taught by over 1,800 dedicated educators. Because of this, 99% of our Catholic high school graduates go on to college. We have one Catholic college in the Diocese, Molloy College, with 4,400 undergraduate and graduate students. We are a diocese with over 12,000 parish catechists educating approximately 102,353 elementary and high school students in religious education programs. Our diocesan seminary educates our future priests, deacons, as well as large numbers of lay people for roles in parish ministry.
Catholic Health Services of Long Island (CHSLI) comprises six hospitals, three skilled nursing home facilities, a home nursing service, a hospice network and a community-based agency serving individuals with special needs. It is staffed by approximately 17,000 employees, including more than 4,600 medical staff and 3,000 volunteers. The medical services we annually provide are so vital and great in number, that adequate healthcare for all people on Long Island would simply not be possible without the work of the diocese.
As part of the “New Evangelization”, the Diocese operates the Telecare television station, and publishes The Long Island Catholic, and Fe Fuerza Vida, a Spanish-language publication. It also runs the Office of Ministry to Catholics of African Ancestry, operates the Haitian-American Apostolate, the office of Hispanic Ministry, the Diocesan Mission in the Dominican Republic, as well as the offices of Renewal, Youth, Young Adult, Campus Ministries, the Pontifical Mission Society, Catholic Scouting, the Office of Worship, the Respect Life Office, and the Office of Prison Ministry. And let us not forget CYO!
Catholic Charities last year provided more than one million caring, face-to-face services to more than 60,000 different people of every faith and background on Long Island, in 14 separate programs administered at more than 60 sites throughout the diocese.
Our diocese is also growing. Last year we celebrated the baptism of more than 15,000 infants and children, and saw another 1,500 adults baptized or received into full communion in the Church. We also celebrated more than 15,000 First Holy Communions, over 15,000 Confirmations, and more than 3,500 weddings. We celebrated funerals for some 10,000 deceased Catholics, in addition to running 3 diocesan and 20 parish cemeteries.
The work of the Gospel, the work of the diocese, simply cannot go on without the Catholic Ministries Appeal and your help. This year our goal is $56,400.00, exactly the same amount as last year. This is a wonderful opportunity to help both the diocese and St. Mary’s. It is also a great way to give a vote of support and confidence to Bishop John Barres, and to assist him in the many things he wants to do to improve our diocese.
If you gave last year, please give again, and if you can increase your contribution even slightly, that would be wonderful. If you did not give last year, please consider giving this year, and remember, there is no gift too small. Last year we did what we did with only 151 donors out of 1,500 families. Just think what we could do if those other families gave a mere $10.00 or $20.00 each! All parishioners will soon be receiving a letter at home with information and a pledge card from the diocese, or you may take a brochure with you from church today. Please prayerfully consider making a gift. Thank you again for your generosity and your support of the Church.