Pastor's Page

“God gives where he finds empty hands”

Dear Friends in Christ,

A quote from Saint Augustine guides our 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal, “God gives where he finds empty hands.” This beautiful insight helps us to see that our good Lord responds where He sees a need, where he finds receptivity. If our hands are full or if our doors are closed, the Lord passes by. Consider the beautiful invitation found in Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20) In knocking, the Lord invites contact and intimacy but he awaits a warm welcome from within. God never forces; he invites.

In 2019, 208 OLPH families made gifts to the Annual Catholic Appeal totalling $26,494. This was 59% of our goal of $45,000. You showed a higher level of generosity than in previous years and I thank you! Gifts ranged from $1 to $1250. There were many gifts between $25 and $200. 

In 2019, the diocese collected almost $6.2 million. From all around the diocese, 55,000 households made gifts. The great majority (75%) of gifts are under $500. Thus, many generous hands and hearts - all giving together - make up this very necessary collection. I cannot stress enough that small gifts matter. Gifts of $25 or $50 make a difference. Many people find it convenient to donate a smaller amount each month on a credit card. If you have not given in the past, please consider a pledge of $10 a month.

Funds benefit (1) the formation of clergy, both priests and deacons, as well as support for retirement; (2) outreach to families and youth, to the poor and vulnerable, and pastoral care, including Catholic Social Services; (3) tuition assistance for Catholic schools, and education for youth and adults, as well as evangelization and outreach. 

For parishes that reach goal, 15% is returned for local use. Also, 50% of all monies raised over goal comes back. This year, parishes that increase participation rate by 10% will receive an additional 5% rebate. That means if less than 30 new families decide to participate this year at OLPH, and we hit our goal, we should expect a rebate of 20% or $9,000. That would be a great help to us and a great sign of parish life and generosity in our community.

In October, we focused on stewardship and our annual report. I shared with you my own personal sacrificial giving and assured you that we would do our best not to talk about money except for the annual report and for our Annual Catholic Appeal. I plan to stand by that pledge. Some were surprised to learn that I give away 10% of what comes my way. Tithing is traditionally a 10% gift in return for the Lord’s goodness. If I am asking you to practice sacrificial giving in support of our parish, our diocese, and other charities, then I must lead by example. Part of my tithe is a gift to the appeal, $365 - or a dollar a day. This year, they asked me to prayerfully consider a gift of $410. I will make it in order to put our parish closer to our goal. Please join me in supporting this worthy effort. 

If reading online, head to: www.dioceseoftrenton.org/catholicappeal to make a gift.

We stand before the Lord with empty hands. We need his blessings and graces. As a parish family we acknowledge that we do not have all the answers and that we need the Lord to guide and bless us. At the same time, we acknowledge the blessings from the Lord - how good and gracious He has been with us. And in recognition of our blessings, we share with others.

In his love,

Fr. Joel Wilson 

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