BAA Letter from Father Kitsmiller

                        From the Rector’s Desk

Remember Jesus’ parable of the seeds and the soil. The three soils are very familiar to us: the path – hardened soil in which no seed could penetrate; rocky soil with no depth to support the seed; and rich soil which produces fruit. The seed, of course, is the Word of God while the soil is the state of the listener’s heart. If our hearts are open than the Word of God, watered by grace, will produce fruit in us. In other words, God will work through us to make His love and plan of salvation real for ourselves and others. If we have borne fruit in our life and if we have benefitted from the Word of God, it is because someone along the way has prepared us to receive the Lord. They were the Lord’s instrument of grace and mercy. Many of us were raised in the faith by our parents. We experienced Jesus Christ in the sacraments, especially the Mass. We were taught the Catholic faith by dedicated religious and lay persons. Some of us have come to the faith as adults and benefitted from catechetical programs like RCIA. Perhaps we had a conversion experience or were enlightened by some member of the Church about the mysteries of God and our place in God’s plan of salvation. Whatever the means, we are indebted to the many people in the Church, our parents included, who made sacrifices for us, financially, spiritually and personally. We learn than that our own support of the mission of the Church advances God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ in us and our brothers and sisters.

One way to continue to support the mission of the Church, especially the local Church, is to support the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (or BAA). We begin much later than usual this year because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of our churches for several months. We are still living with the effects of this pandemic, as many people are not ready to be back in church. Nevertheless, the mission of the Church continues, even with our churches less than half-full. As you know from past campaigns, the BAA supplements and supports many ventures of the Church’s mission - the education of seminarians and candidates for the permanent diaconate, social outreach to such entities as the Joint Organization for Inner City Needs (JOIN), spiritual and pastoral programs, such as marriage preparation, student and school assistance and parish enhancement programs. Like many parishes, the Cathedral has benefitted in the past from the BAA for parish enhancement and maintenance. Diocesan grants, funded by the BAA, helped to refurbish the front steps and provided new electrical wiring.

As you know from past years, we have combined the BAA with our yearly parish fundraising project. We have been able to raise money to provide new confessionals, renovated bathrooms in the undercroft and motorized handicap doors. This has been thanks to the generosity of many of you. This year, the diocese has given us a goal of raising $55,593.71, a little more than $2,000.00 above last year’s goal. As in past years, I am asking that we enhance that goal by raising $100,000.00. Our enhanced goal last year was $103,293.14 and we were able to raise $99,603.00, which is impressive. I thank you for your generosity. As in previous years, we have had a project in mind for the additional money that we raise above our diocesan goal. This money is given back to the parish without any assessment from the Diocese. We have done some small projects in the past but this year we need to begin saving for a big ticket item: a new HVAC system for the Cathedral. The current system, which provides air conditioning and heating for the Cathedral, dates from 1963 and is on its last leg. We need to do a full replacement of the system. Our initial estimates for the replacement of the system are upward of $500,000.00. We, of course, will be expecting help from the Diocese but we also have to do our part to raise the money. It may take two or three BAA campaigns to raise the money that we need but we need to start now. So, if we can raise $45,000.00 through this year’s BAA, we will be making a good start.

If each family could give $250.00 for the campaign, we would make our goal. Some of you I know cannot give that much. I know that some may struggle to give because of a loss of job or income. Some families, however, could give much more than what I have asked. I include myself in this group. If everyone participates, I believe we can reach this goal with no problem. I ask that you prayerfully consider what sacrifice you can make for the BAA and the Cathedral. Whatever you are able to give, I sincerely appreciate your sacrifice and commitment. I want to also thank you for your support of the parish, especially during this very difficult 2020. Let us persevere in the grace of Jesus Christ for “in all things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

You can make a pledge or an online contribution to the BAA by clicking here.

Fr. Kitsmiller