Editorial | How we cast out our nets, change the world

Cartoon by Joe Heller
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Annual Catholic Appeal supporters follow Jesus' command 

Pope Francis, speaking in his recent visit to Colombia, said the only way forward is to follow Jesus, obeying His command to cast out nets, which means taking responsibility for personal conversion and changing the world.

Jesus invites us to take shared risks, to leave behind our selfishness and to follow Him, Pope Francis told the crowd.

Donors to the Annual Catholic Appeal take those risks, leaving behind their selfishness and following Jesus by assisting with the work that is carried on in the 11 counties of the archdiocese in His name. The funds raised in the Appeal are used to cast out nets and to change the world.

The Annual Catholic Appeal set a record of more than $15.5 million in pledges to help fund archdiocesan ministries and offices on an annual basis. It coincided with part of the largest campaign in archdiocesan history by far — the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri's Beyond Sunday campaign, which has raised more than $104 million to date in pledges to benefit Catholic education and parishes.

Support of the Annual Catholic Appeal demonstrates a faithful willingness to invite others to follow the call of Jesus. The gifts help make possible the thousands of miracles that take place in the lives of those who are served every day. The gifts enable a response to people who are less fortunate, those in material and spiritual need, and people who otherwise are forgotten by society.

Among the agencies and programs funded by the Appeal that help change the world and cast out nets is the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King who not only provide food and other assistance for people who are needy but also spiritual support. Speaking about the ministry in rural Washington County, one woman said she looked forward to her visits with a Rural Parish Worker who makes her feel as if she is part of her family. "She picks my spirits up. She's like a spiritual mother to me," the woman said.

That's just one example. Catholic Charities of St. Louis uses funds to partner with families on journeys toward financial independence; Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service lifts people up from homelessness with an optimistic attitude of "we're here to help;" St. Gemma Center opens doorways to the community for children with special needs through quality Catholic education; Kenrick-Glennon Seminary provides formation for priests to serve the people of God; and there's much more.

In Columbia, Pope Francis talked about promoting unity, "working for the defense and care of human life, especially when it is most fragile and vulnerable: in a mother's womb, in infancy, in old age, in conditions of incapacity and in situations of social marginalization."

Catholics who contribute to the Annual Catholic Appeal and take the risk of shedding selfishness promote that unity. We continue to cast out nets and change the world for the better by supporting the Appeal and the work of Church-supported ministries. 

Learn more about the Annual Catholic Appeal

See coverage in Living our Faith

Visit www.archstl.org/aca 

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