COLLECTION FOR THE CHURCH IN LATIN AMERICA
"I should no longer say that I have neighbors to help, but that I must myself be a neighbor to others"
-Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, no. 81
On June 26, 2020, Fr. Ricardo Antonio Cortez Martínez, rector of the St. Óscar Arnulfo seminary in Usulutan, El Salvador, sent a request to the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America for financial aid for 42 seminarians in the philosophy stage of their formation. Less than two months later, on August 7, Fr. Ricardo was found assassinated. Despite a falling homicide rate in El Salvador, three priests were slain from 2019 through August 2020.
To answer the call to priestly or consecrated life is a courageous act of faith, especially in a time and place where priests face violence, as Fr. Ricardo did. The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America recognizes the courage and openness of seminarians, such as those at the St. Óscar Arnulfo Romero seminary, by supporting their formation as they prepare for lives of dedicated service.
This weekend throughout the USA the Church asks us to contribute to the Collection for the Church in Latin America. Our donation in the second collection makes it possible for young men in El Salvador and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to answer the call to serve the People of God as priest, consecrated religious, catechist and other church workers. Thank you for your generosity.
For more information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America, visit www.usccb.org/latin-america.
OTHER HAPPENINGS THIS WEEK
Tuesday, February 1st begins the Lunar New Year. For many people throughout the world this a very important day to celebrate the New Year, to come together as a family and to honor deceased relatives and friends. In Vietnam it is called TET and this year is celebrated beginning Feb. 1. The Franciscans in Vietnam will celebrate a special Mass on February 1 for the people and celebrate with their families. Let us all pray for peace and understanding among all people of the world. And let us pray that Catholics throughout the world will be able to worship in freedom and without danger or persecution. Chuc Mung Nam Moi (Happy New Year!)
We celebrate the feast of St. Blaise this Thursday, February 3. St. Blaise is the patron of those who suffer from diseases of the throat and other illness. As is our tradition, we will bless throats at the conclusion of the 7:30am, 11:40am and 1:15pm Masses on Thursday, February 3. Because many people might not be able to attend Mass on February 3, we will also bless throats after the 5pm Saturday Vigil Mass on February 5 and after the Sunday Masses of 9am and 11am on February 6.
ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL (ACA)
The weekend of February 12-13, throughout the Archdiocese, will be the beginning of the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). This year's theme is "Making all things new… God’s promise and our responsibility." Many Catholics, throughout the Archdiocese, will be receiving the Annual Catholic Appeal mailing from Cardinal Cupich soon. On behalf of those served by the ministries, parishes and schools who receive funding from the Appeal, your generous donations help to support those ministries.
The Annual Catholic Appeal offers an important opportunity to answer Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me ...” This is especially important during these trying and challenging times. Many in our parishes are affected financially by the pandemic, and we encourage giving at all levels to support this initiative. In addition to providing for ministries and services throughout the archdiocese, the Annual Catholic Appeal funds services in our own area.
When we financially support the work of St. Peter's Church, the archdiocese and the Catholic Church throughout the world, we experience a feeling of deep gratitude, especially when we contemplate God’s many gifts to us personally. By sharing our wealth through gifts to the 2022 Annual Catholic Appeal, we demonstrate our commitment to the Church and each other.
There are various ways to make a contribution (large or small) to support the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). One-time gifts, pledges, sustaining recurring gifts, as well as gifts made through stock, Donor Advised Funds and IRA distributions can be made by cash, check or credit card through the following methods: (1) The Reply Form received in the Cardinal's mailing in January, (2) Online at annualcatholicappeal.com, (3) Through the in-pew envelopes available at the Masses the weekend of February 19-20, (4) through the ACA telephone number at 312-534-7959 or (5) mail to Annual Catholic Appeal at 835 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2030.
In the coming weeks I'll share more information about the Annual Catholic Appeal through our church bulletin. There will also be more information in the Chicago Catholic and on our church web site and the web site of the Archdiocese. For those who wish more information now or want to contribute at this time you can visit the website annualcatholicappeal.com to find more information or to make your pledge online.
As we come to the end of the first month of 2022, I ask that you continue to pray that we might find some solution to the growing violence on our streets and city neighborhoods. I also urge you to contact our city, state and national officials and politicians asking them to find ways to engage all citizens in seeking ways to end this growing cancer of violence among our citizens. Prayer is important. Treating one another as brothers and sisters as Jesus has instructed us is important. Treating one another with civility is important. Encouraging those with political influence to be creative in helping end violence is important. Lamenting the lack of respect for the life of others is not sufficient......we also must find creative ways to show respect to one another, to save one another if we dare call ourselves followers of Jesus.
Don’t forget to wear your masks, obtain COVID vaccines & a flu vaccine, if you have not already done so, wash hands frequently, avoid large crowds and let us all remember to keep one another in prayer this week.