Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The 2018 "House of Charity" Appeal: Walk With Me

Dear Parishioners,

It is once again that time of year when our bishop, as spiritual leader of the Diocese of Camden, makes an appeal for our help with the various ministries and programs of the diocese.  The operation of a diocese is very much like the operation of a parish, only on a much larger scale.  Essentially, we—as a parish or as a diocese—can only do the things that our financial means allow.  We depend on the generosity of our parishioners to support both.

The House of Charity-Bishop's Annual Appeal has been made in the Diocese of Camden since 1964—for 54 years now!  So it should come as no surprise to any of us.  Since we know that this appeal will be made annually, I ask that each of our parishioners/families prepares or budgets for it.  Again, it should come as no surprise, like an emergency collection would be after some natural disaster.

There are those among us whose financial means allow them to make a most generous gift.  I am extremely grateful for what they can do.  However, so many of our financial resources often come from the sacrificial giving of the average parishioner or family.  Remember the story of the widow’s mite (See Mk. 12:41-44 or Lk. 21:1-4)— the two small copper coins—from the Gospels?  Jesus praised her sacrificial giving even though it seemed minuscule in the eyes of many. 

Let me break this situation down a bit.  If I put aside less than $20.00 per month, I could easily make a $200.00 contribution annually.  Many of us probably could do substantially more, if it were truly sacrificial giving.  The average gift within the diocese last year was about $365.00.

This weekend (February 3-4) we will show the 2018 House of Charity video at Mass, followed by an “in pew” solicitation.  Please help us as a parish and as a diocese with this appeal.  You can make an outright gift or make a pledge which can be completed over time.  We ask you please to act this weekend if possible to save us time and money by having to send out additional letters or to make additional follow-up phone calls.  Please think and pray about this appeal and I request that you make your decision and commitment as soon as possible.

There is a saying that all politics is local.  Remember, when we reach this year’s goal, we will receive 10% of what is collected for use back here in our parish.  Additionally, 75% of all funds received above our parish goal is returned to our parish.  This year's parish goal at Holy Angels is $170,456.49.

So, on behalf of our diocese and our bishop, I humbly ask for your assistance with this appeal.  As my parishioners, I hope you realize that I infrequently ask for money.  I am generally uncomfortable with this task.  However, there are many who will undoubtedly benefit from our financial gifts and sacrifices and I appeal to your generosity on their behalf.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Catholic Schools Week!

Dear Parishioners,
We begin our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week (January 28-February 3, 2018)

We are happy to announce that Bishop Dennis Sullivan will celebrate Mass for the school children during this week! 
I write here to share with you my belief in the importance and value of our Catholic Schools. Although this letter is addressed to all parishioners, I particularly hope that those of you who are parents of school-aged children might rethink the possibility of a Catholic school for your children.  I admit that I write with a certain bias towards a Catholic school education having attended Catholic schools for over 21 years (from kindergarten through seminary and graduate school.)  Subsequently, I had been a teacher and/or administrator in Catholic schools for 20 additional years.  I value each of these 40+ years and hope to have many more working for and with Catholic Schools.    
What does a Catholic school have to offer?  The simple answer is the integration of faith, morals and the love of Jesus Christ as part of the life of the school.  If this is not the top priority of any particular Catholic school, then I will be the first in line to see it close.  Catholic schools need to be more than just academically sound but also truly CatholicOur faith is that important!
On the elementary level, the administration, teachers and staff of Holy Angels School are working very hard to accomplish this task.  Together with strong parental support the school is an extended family.  I have witnessed the school community living out its faith, constantly improving its academic curriculum and developing new programs while it is experiencing a renewed, strong interest by many families in our area.  I am very proud to be the Pastor and partner of this wonderful, truly Catholic school. 
We are also fortunate to have numerous diocesan and private Catholic high schools in our proximity:  Gloucester Catholic, Camden Catholic, Paul VI, and Bishop Eustace.
Over the years I have found that not everyone's needs can always be met in a Catholic school.  I also realize that no Catholic school is perfect because they are made up of imperfect human beings.  Yet, if the students are supported by loving parents who practice their faith and those students try to live out the teachings of their faith as articulated every day in the classroom, then I think that Catholic school graduates are as well-prepared as anyone to face the challenges, trials and tribulations that life may present.  I encourage families who have not seriously considered a Catholic school to pray about it, make an appointment to visit or attend an open-house and see if a Catholic school may be the right fit for your child(ren).  

Yes, the added expense of tuition is difficult.  (Limited tuition assistance may be available for needy families.)  Yet, isn’t sacrifice usually a necessary part of obtaining something truly valuable?  There is no better short or long term investment you can make than in the education and spiritual formation of your children.  
My thanks to those parents who currently make the sacrifice to send your children to a Catholic school and to those who take the time to consider one!

Fr. Ed Namiotka