Monday greetings from Chicago, where today's temperature is expected to reach 83 degrees! The leaves are turning to their beautiful autumn colors, but the temperature is telling us it is still summer!
This past weekend, at my parish, Old Saint Patrick's here in Chicago, we had the annual "appeal" by our pastor. I had received a letter from the parish earlier in the week, outlining the various ways parishioners can give to the parish; weekly giving, electronic giving, wills, trusts, etc. In previous parishes where I have ministered, this weekend always meant the handing out of annual giving pledge cards. One parish asked each of us to consider "taking a step" in our giving by increasing that giving one half of one percent, or one percent.
I was seated in the lower hall this past Sunday, and our pastor was preaching at the Mass upstairs in the main church. After the proclamation of the Gospel in the lower hall, a staff member came forward with a large pole and poked the bottom of the projector suspended above the main aisle, turning it on. There was a screen that had been lowered behind the altar. So, through this technology, we in the hall were able to see and hear our pastor's annual appeal. Here's a photo I took.
Fr. Tom preached a wonderful homily and then told us that, despite what the people in the development office might think of what he would say next, he simply thanked us for our generosity in the past. He never once asked for money; he just invited us to keep everything in our parish moving along as we teach, preach, and invite young people into the lived experience of Catholicism in our parish.
I have heard the age-old complaint from Catholics for years: "All they ever do in that parish is ask for money." Here was an example in stark contrast to that. A simple and genuine word of thanks to the parishioners for their generosity.
I liked it. What does your parish's appeal look and sound like?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.