Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Praised be Jesus Christ!
I am delighted to announce this year’s Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal, and especially our focus on Youth Ministry, which is such an important priority for us here in Western Oregon as well as for the entire Church. Everything we do with youth, and everything they do with us, is an expression of the immense hope and inspiration that is ours in union with them. Our youth can provide so much enthusiasm, energy and leadership in ways that others simply cannot. I thank God for our emerging generations of leaders for our Church!
I want to emphasize at the outset that, although this appeal is called the “Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal,” it clearly is not just “my” appeal. Rather, it is “our” appeal – our appeal to one another to work together as the Catholic community in western Oregon so that everyone – married, single, young adults, the poor and marginalized, families, clergy, the infirm, those who have lost their way – yes, every one of God’s children – can hear the Good News and say “yes” to the life God offers them.
In our work with youth, our goal is to do everything we can to help them encounter Jesus Christ. This is the most important thing for all of us. As they encounter Christ, we work to help them grow in their knowledge of Him and of their Catholic faith. Ultimately, our aim is to empower them to grow so that they take their rightful place as members of our Church, joining with one another and their fellow parishioners to help spread the Good News to the world.
Happily, we have an increasing number of “youth ministers”who are dedicated to serving our young people in our parishes. And, just as happily, we have more and more youth joining our parish and regional youth ministry groups, retreats, conferences and other activities. I am so very grateful to those who serve both as volunteers and as staff. Who among us does not have a “heart” for our youth?
I invite you to enthusiastically join in with me in “our” appeal for the benefit of our youth, as well as for the benefit of children attending our Catholic Schools, our retired priests, the thousands benefiting from our Hispanic Ministries, those receiving ministry in the Deaf Community, those in prison, those studying for the Permanent Diaconate, people with disabilities, and many more. We are sent into the world together as God’s people. We are sent to “be Christ” to one another and to those in need around us. We are sent to evangelize, to share the Good News in His name, boldly and joyfully.
Evangelization begins with ourselves, and only then goes out to others. Let us join together with our young people – and with people of all ages in our Archdiocesan community – to share the blessings that God has given us with those who are in need, those who are lost, and those who are simply wandering or searching. Let us joyfully be the light of the world and the salt of the earth!
We have set aside the weekend of February 7-8, 2015, as“Commitment Weekend.” You can participate in a variety of ways: by giving through the mail, in your parish collection, or online. God has provided for us. Now it is time for us toshare what we have been given with others.
Thank you for your prayerful participation in these much needed ministries. Together, we can do it!
Sincerely in Christ,
Alexander K. Sample, J.C.L., D.D.
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon