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Efforts of social ministry, pro-life offices supported by ACA
By Julie Filby
ARCHBISHOP’S CATHOLIC APPEAL
The annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal (ACA) responds to the Christian call to charity by raising funds that help support nearly 40 ministries in the Denver Archdiocese.
“Two of the greatest blessings of our Church are the eagerness of her members to grow the faith and to express their love of neighbor through their support of the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., wrote in a recent letter to parishioners. “It is for that reason that I selected ‘...God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Cor 9:7) as the 2011 appeal theme.
“Within these few words,” he added, “is embodied the heart of Christianity—charity to all.”=
Since its kick-off earlier this month, the ACA has received pledges of more than $2.2 million from approximately 6,200 households. That is one-quarter of the way to this year’s goal of $8.6 million.
“Everyone is called to advance the missionary efforts of the archdiocese,” said Todd Smith, director of annual giving. “When considering your level of involvement, remember that the success of the appeal cannot rely on a wealthy few, but upon many who are willing.”
Smith went on to say that ACA support translates into “life-changing and compassionate services that address the spiritual, physical, social, intellectual and emotional needs of many.”
One of the life-changing ministries assisted by ACA is Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities is one of Colorado’s leading private nonprofit social service providers, serving more than 80,000 people annually through homeless shelters, community outreach, emergency assistance, immigration legal assistance, adoption and foster care, family counseling, senior services, child care and youth programs.
“The reality is without the ACA there are some fundamental things we do, that wouldn’t be possible,” explained Jonathan Reyes, chief executive officer, “particularly in the area of care for the homeless.”
Catholic Charities operates four offices in the archdiocese: Denver metro-area, Larimer County, Weld County and the Western Slope. Each office serves people of all ages, faiths and ethnic backgrounds. On any given night there are some 80 children sleeping in their shelters.
“We help anyone who comes to us that we can,” said Reyes. “We also help people transition out of homelessness. We have all kinds of programs for helping people get jobs … we do more than give them a warm bed.”
As part of Archbishop Chaput’s broader vision to have an integrated approach across all social ministries, Reyes was also named Executive Director of Social Ministries for the archdiocese. This social ministry arm includes the Gabriel House, a pro-life apostolate serving pregnant women, directed by Mimi Eckstein; the Office of Social Ministry led by Al Hooper; and the Respect Life Office, whose new director Lynn Grandon will start in June.
“The ACA is essential to some exciting new initiatives in social ministry, in particular the growth of the Gabriel House and the expansion of its ministry to other regions of the archdiocese,” Reyes said. “We’re really committed to life issues and care for women.”
Reyes is grateful for the support of the appeal and its contributors.
“I get the chance firsthand to see the joy on the faces of people blessed by it,” he said. “I want donors to know that people on the receiving end are deeply grateful.
“Catholics are doing great things,” he said. “People should be pleased about that—and proud that they’re responding to Christ’s call to them.”
For more information on Catholic Charities, call 303-742-0828 or visit www.ccdenver.org.
ACA funds also support archdiocesan schools, seminaries, and educational and evangelization efforts. Donations are tax deductible, and can be made in a lump sum or in payments. Checks, money orders or credit cards are accepted.