|Coat of Arms|
ACA: The primary source of support for local Church ministries
People sometimes ask me if leading an archdiocese the size of Denver is a burden. My answer is pretty simple. It’s no more of a “burden” than the burdens carried by a mother and father, or the pastor of a parish, or the head of a religious community.
All these tasks require the same core skill: the ability to lead by learning and serving the real needs of the persons who depend on you—and without regard to your own comfort.
The satisfaction in all these forms of leadership is also the same, and it outweighs any burdens: the joy of seeing other persons thrive and grow, and then give to others, because of the service you’ve rendered to them.
Most of us understand that Christian charity involves a lot more than money. Our time and our talent are among the most precious things we own. When we volunteer these things in service, we truly give of ourselves. We come closest to the way the first apostles lived as companions of Jesus.
But given the duties of daily life—work, family and education—we often have limited opportunities for direct service. It may sound heroic to drop everything and serve the poor in West Africa, and of course it is. God does call some of us to do exactly that.
But for most of us, our vocation is here, where God has planted us. We take part in the broader ministries of the Church by offering our financial support to our local parish and the larger community of faith we know as the archdiocese.
One of the ironies of being Catholic in Colorado is that well into the 1950s, Colorado was a Ku Klux Klan state. Colorado has a history of anti-Catholic sentiment—a habit of prejudice that is not entirely absent even today. Yet today, Catholics are the largest single religious group in the state, and two out of the last three state governors have been Catholic.
With dramatic growth in our Latino population over the past two decades, the demands on our Church services have grown quickly. And as with any family, no matter how well-intentioned we are in our hopes and plans, we need the financial resources to make our services real.
Every year around this time, we begin the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal in every parish of the archdiocese. Most of us give most of our annual donations to our local parish, and that’s appropriate. Our local parish is where we encounter the sacraments most directly; where we hear the Gospel and volunteer our time; where people are baptized, catechized and married; and from which believers are buried.
But our “local Church” is much bigger than any individual parish, providing ministries and services no individual parish can afford. In reality, some parishes, ministries and schools are so financially challenged that they can only survive with help from the archdiocesan Church.
The Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal (ACA) is the single most important annual source of support for the work of the Archdiocese of Denver. Without it, some 40 different Catholic ministries and services would cease to exist or seriously diminish. That means your support for it is vital. People around the archdiocese depend—quite literally—on your yearly generosity to the ACA.
This year, when you receive your ACA request for help, please take it to prayer, and please be as generous as you can be. I know that we all receive so many worthy appeals for help; but among those appeals, the ACA is among the most urgent—and also the most fruitful in its life-giving effects.
Thank you in advance for your great kindness. And may God bless you and your families in a special way.
To learn more about the Archbishop's annual Catholic Appeal, visit www.archden.org/archbishopscatholicappeal.
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. is the archbishop of Denver. To read more from Archbishop Chaput, click here.