Annual Catholic Appeal starts with ‘One Heart in Charity’

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As the Annual Catholic Appeal kicks off in parishes across the archdiocese this week, Catholics are called to build the Church through their generous support, which makes possible thousands of miracles in the lives of those the Church serves every day.

This year's appeal focuses on "One Heart in Charity" and looks toward its greatest ally — the Blessed Mother — in caring for others. Catholics are being called to emulate Mary's fiat, or "yes," through their support of the Annual Catholic Appeal, which runs April 22-May 7 and has a goal of $13.75 million.

"Mary is our eternal mother who loves us and wants us to feel loved by her and her Son," appeal chairwoman Madeleine Appelbaum shared at the ACA kickoff dinner April 2. "As a result, Mary is our greatest advocate, our greatest intercessor. It is she who points the way to Christ. Like Mary, we, too, are called to say 'yes' to God. And the ACA is one way in which we can do so."

The appeal provides funding for programs that serve the greater St. Louis community's most immediate needs. Ministries include:

• Catholic education, including elementary and high schools, special education, Newman Centers and ongoing formation for priests and deacons;

• Promotion of human dignity, including help for immigrants and refugees, food pantries and other services for the homeless and those in need and efforts to defend life, marriage and religious liberty;

• Leadership and missionary discipleship, including vocations, adult catechesis, support for religious communities, prayer and healing ministries and communications and youth programming.

Approximately 91 cents of every dollar raised goes back into the community in the form of direct services.

Parishes will have pledge cards available at Masses during the weekends of the appeal. To make a donation online, visit www.archstl.org/aca.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said the Blessed Mother is a prime example of someone who lived up to the challenges before her. Soon after the birth of her son, she and Joseph were forced from her hometown to another country where they remained homeless for some time.

"Her response to these unexpected and threatening events was simple," the archbishop said. "'The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.' Mary was asked to give everything she had and to follow a difficult and sorrowful path — the path that God had laid out for her, and she said 'yes'.

When we say 'yes' to the appeal, just as Mary did in a trying time, "God will work miracles in the hearts of men and women across the Archdiocese of St. Louis," Archbishop Carlson said. "I pray you experience the miracle of charity in your own heart and in the lives of those close to you." 

>> Learn and donate

To make a donation to the Annual Catholic Appeal and watch the video, visit www.archstl.org/aca.

To read more about the Annual Catholic Appeal and the ministries it helps, see the April/May issue of Catholic St. Louis magazine. www.catholicstlouis.com. 

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