Lent has begun and our Lenten theme, chosen by our Liturgy Committee, is Love and Mercy! Are you beginning to reflect on Love and Mercy, both given and received?
At the request of the NYS Catholic Charities, I share with you this Action Alert calling upon your State Senator to support the 3-for-5 legislation. NYS Catholic Charities and the NYS Catholic Conference of Bishops ask all of us to study this issue and act supporting is the 3-for-5 legislation. The formal position paper is on their websites, but to summarize the 3-for-5 is asking for a 3% increase on contracts and rates for the next 5 years to ensure the survival of the not-for-profit human services sector, agencies such as Catholic Family Center on the local level. Human Services local aid has fallen by 5% annually since 2012. This trend is unsustainable and directly impacts the quality and quantity of services available in every community. This brunt of this disinvestment is borne by the 800,000 human services workers across our state, who have been forced to live with stagnant wages that keep the average worker below the poverty line. Call your Senator (518-455-2800) and tell them to support this legislation.
It has a month or so since I have mentioned the Catholic Ministries Appeal and I need to keep it before your eyes. The theme for this year’s Catholic Ministries Appeal is I AM The Vine, You Are the Branches. Next weekend, is Fruit of the Vine Weekend, when you are being encourage to make your pledge (or increase your pledge) if you have not already done so to help us towards our parish CMA goal. You may make your gift online at www.dor.org/cma or use one the CMA envelopes available in the Gathering Area. As of Friday, February 21, 397 donors have contributed $181,151 (89%) towards our $203,413 goal, so we are $22,262 short at the present time. Please join in bearing good fruit to support our Church.
How is my contribution used? When you give to the Catholic Ministries Appeal, you are really giving to the eager children hungry to learn about the faith of their parents and generations of Catholics. You are giving to the dedicated young seminarian learning to serve God and the Church, or the older priest who has served faithfully and needs retirement support. Your money goes to help the vital work of Catholic Charities, to families just like yours whose faith sees them through the ever-growing stress of life. And you give “locally” - more than half of every dollar raised returns to Transfiguration in the form of services and programming that our parish would have a difficult time providing on our own. All funds raised in the CMA are only used for the programs, services and ministries for which they are designated. No gifts to the CMA are used to satisfy legal fees or costs associated with abuse.
How much should I give? That is a personal decision you must make. As I have shared with you before I contribute 10% of my gross income to charity, 5% to the Parish, 2.5% to the CMA and 2.5% to other charities. Each of us is called to reflect the compassion and generosity of Jesus, who gave his very life for us. We are called to be good stewards of the many blessings God has bestowed on us. That is true discipleship. It means God asks us to use our blessings well, to help others, to share our bounty so that our wealth, however large or small, does good for God and returns to God with increase. Giving should be a sacrifice, but only you can decide. One thing is certain. Our God promises that our generosity will be returned to us many times over in ways that will delight us.
I wish you a peaceful and successful Lent!
Let us continue to pray for and take action to bring about peace in our world!
In peace and courage,