Feb 9, 2019

Go Fund Them

The Annual Appeal to Catholics 

Why? Before the beginning of the season of Lent, we initiate the Annual Catholic Appeal.  It's our opportunity to assess the needs of our Local Church, remind each other what we are doing and why. It is also an appeal for help to ensure we can continue the mission and ministries that we, too often, can take for granted and are in need of continual help and support.

A Big Family of Parishes.  Of course, although our experience of the Catholic Church is first and foremost through our local parish, each faith community is not a Church unto itself. We are a living cell, united to other parishes throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties- one of 99 parishes.

Shepherds.  United with them in our common Catholic faith we form what is called a diocese, a Local Church. Our bishop, Bishop McElroy is the chief shepherd of our diocese, responsible for the souls of over one million local Catholics, including yours and mine! There are 2167 dioceses in the world held together in unity and charity through the mission and ministry of Pope Francis.  1 billion, 254 million members of the Catholic Church through the world!

Sheepfolds.  Each year locally, every parish in our diocese, like muscles of a body working together, demonstrates the ability to coordinate with other parishes in a unique feat of strength. No one part of the body of the diocese is able to take on the entire burden. In fact, all parts of the body need to coordinate in order to contribute to the mission and ministry of Christ and his Church.

Our desert flock. To make this happen, we first give attention to the part of our Local Church which finds itself continually feeling the strain. We have twelve parishes in the Imperial Valley. This area has the highest concentration of Catholics, the lowest per capita income and the greatest unemployment figure in our local Church. (I know this area well having been a priest there, first in Calexico within stone's throw of the border with Mexico, and as a pastor of a farmers parish in Brawley not far from the Salton Sea.  Our brothers and sisters there need our support to help build churches and provide resources for their pastors to be effective in their ministry.)

Pastors and Apprentices. All our priests are in need of your support and encouragement so that our ministry can be effective and enduring throughout our diocese. That support begins at the local level. Our own parish has been the starting post of a number of fine men who have responded to discerning Christ's call to them to be priests. In these past years we have seen four men from St. Margaret's, ordained to the priesthood - two presently serving in our diocese and two further afield. Our parish also hails three seminarians, one presently studying for our diocese and two studying for with religious orders. Our support for them in prayer and practical help continue to afford them the proper environment to test out their vocation to the priesthood, be it in the seminary, the college or the parish church.

Hungry Lambs and Newborns. Another area of our Local Church body which needs continual support is the organization we call Catholic Charities. Every year almost 300,000 of our brothers and sisters, from every part of our diocese, are given practical assistance for food, clothing, and shelter- what we call in our Catholic tradition, the “Corporal Works of Mercy”. This work is ongoing as God’s mercy is everlasting.

Protecting the Family. However, a body is only as strong as its defenses are. In a world where we too often experience the effects of sin and find ourselves vulnerable to many attacks from every side, our mind must always be kept sharp, our heart should find comfort and our soul must always be nourished.  This goes hand in hand with helping young couples in particular with their preparation for marriage. The diocese provides workshops, presentations, and retreats to help men and women marry well and to create the environment necessary for stable and wholesome family life to begin.

Teaching the Faith. Of course, like anybody, we are always growing and learning how to adapt to ever-changing surroundings. We are often challenged to explain and defend our way of life and our faith. Our investment in Catholic education is essential in providing support for Catholic schools, training the catechists and teachers to ensure our Catholic identity is strong and credible.

Doing Our Part.  Each parish in the diocese, small or large, rich or poor, is asked to contribute their energy to furthering these goals. Naturally each parish, like that muscle in the body, has a particular function. Each parish gives of itself accordingly to an assessment of its own strength and ability towards our Annual Catholic Appeal.

Support the Annual Catholic Appeal. One person makes a difference, one parish cooperating with others, one Church continuing the mission and ministry of Christ.

Father Cávana Wallace

Pastor of Saint Margaret's, Oceanside

Please use the following secure link 
to send us a token of that support, wherever you are. 

(Scroll down from Sunday Offering) 

Thank you! 

Responding to God's Grace: A Video Message from the Diocese of San Diego.

Feb 5, 2019

Silence of the Lamb


Luke 4:21-30  

Today’s gospel continues where we left off last week. Here's what's happening.

Our Blessed Lord has entered into this hometown and has announced the beginning of a new era in the relationship between God and humanity, a new initiative. Jesus announces the Kingdom of God and that the very words he had spoken were being fulfilled right in front of their eyes.

However, his townsfolk are impressed with the eloquence of his delivery. They are proud he has returned home for they had heard stories of his ministry and miracles in the surrounding towns. They joined in the excitement of how crowds were following him with great hope and expectation. But then something happens. They started to have second thoughts. Jesus had just read from the Old Testament prophecy about what the Messiah would do. Now he adds, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.

His own townspeople could not fathom that the Scriptures, which spoke of the coming of the Messiah and the initiation of a new type of Kingdom, was actually present in the here and now. It seemed that the townspeople, although very religious and devote, somehow only could see the power of God in the world tied up to past events in times remote and distant. Nostalgia seems to be more powerful the present.

We must be careful not to fall into this trap also, of securing God to events in the past, failing to believe that our Lord can and does work in the here and now.  Often, images and memories of what we can selectively remember as the "good old days", events in frozen storage, can seem more persuasive when we are fearful of the future. The temptation to despair will often extinguish any sense of hope.  When one is so used to living in a cave anyone who forces us to look outside of it and into a new day with fresh eyes can seem like a threat.

The people of Nazareth seemed unable or unwilling to reflecting and contemplate the bigger picture. Almost like a knee jerk reaction, they quickly changed the subject and then became "offended", personally offended. And then few reactions turn into a crowd of discontent. The discontent goes viral and it generates into a mob. And all this, before the days of Twitter!

Notice how Christ, after being swept up into this raging wave, saves himself. He doesn’t plead with them, nor does he try to rationalize. His friends do not save him and nor does the law of the land protect him. Our Blessed Lord saves himself through his divine power as God and walks away from the hostility. It doesn't seem fair that he should use his divine influence to get himself out of a battle! Why put up a forcefield? Simply put, the Lord will not be forced into giving his life away. His life is his own, and he will wait for the right time so that he can offer it freely, without coercion.

At the end of his public ministry, when our Blessed Lord was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he could have also walked away. When he was to be brutally abused and tortured by the Roman soldiers, he had it within his power to switch off any feeling of pain or agony. When he was slowly crucified, he could have easily come down from the cross and brushed off from his body all the injuries and scars. No one mob can force Christ into loving them. He freely gives his life and does so out of the most intensive love unimaginable while considering me and you worth the suffering, the pain, the sacrifice and even the silence he offered.

Yes, there are battles which we must surely fight. But we must never rush into any of them and never compulsively or do so just to make a point.  Sometimes, we also have to ride out the wave of hostility and, yes, with God's grace, slip through an angry mob to save our skin. There is no shame in that. Our shame will be revealed if we mistake the hill outside Nazareth with another hill outside Jerusalem. In the meantime, we pray that our faith will give us the strength to carry our cross willingly and lovingly even though it is heavy and it hurts. If we can do so freely, then the good news is that the Kingdom of God is in fact very near.

May our Blessed Mother, who pondered all these things in her heart, help us to appreciate the Good News of our salvation and the sacrifice our Blessed Lord freely offered so that we might experience lives of true freedom and authentic love.

Go Fund Them

The Annual Appeal to Catholics  Why?  Before the beginning of the season of Lent, we initiate the Annual Catholic Appeal.  It's ...