Annual Catholic Appeal – April 28, 2013 – by Mark Markuly, Ph.D. St. Cecilia parishioner and Dean of School of Thoelogy and Ministry at Seattle University
Annual Catholic Appeal
April 28, 2013
by Mark Markuly, Ph.D., St. Cecilia Parishioner
Dean of School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University
The Annual Catholic Appeal is an opportunity for all Catholics in western Washington to support the key Archdiocesan ministries of the region. This is an opportunity to support ministries that reach far beyond the scope of any one Catholic parish, to respond to human needs in the broader region. This is also a once a year appeal for Catholics to support the Church as “institution.” In 1974, a famous Jesuit theologian named Avery Dulles wrote a very influential book called The Models of the Church. As Dulles studied the history of Christianity, he began to see five distinct patterns or models of church operation or mission orientations. These models were the “church as sacrament,” the “church as servant, the “church as a mystical communion,” the “church as prophet,” and finally, the “church as institution.”
Dulles believed that the Christianity has had all of these models operating over the past 2,000 years. He also believed we needed all of them to fulfill the mission Christ gave us. But, the institutional model plays a unique role. While it can become an end in itself and is always in need of reform, it also serves as an organizational structure for all the work of the church. One might say the “church as institution” is a receptacle or an ark that carries the full mission of the church from one generation to the next.
The institutional structures of Catholicism are profound by any evaluation: there are 270,000 parishes in the world, serving more than 1.2 billion Catholics, and if these faith communities averaged one-half of the number of ministries that we have at St. Cecilia, the universal church would have more than 8 million parish-based ministry efforts alone! The Catholic social service agencies tending to the poor, the schools, and other institutions are really impossible to count. The Jesuits alone have more than 100 institutions of higher learning worldwide, with more than 1 million graduates; and one quarter of the human beings on this planet who suffer from AIDs are cared for by organizations that exist under Catholic auspices.
Within our own archdiocese, the Catholic community supports 50 emergency shelters, more than 2,300 housing units for the homeless, serves 1.4 million meals for the poor each year, provides 1.75 million hours of home care for the elderly, operates 62 elementary and middle schools and 11 high schools, serving 23,000 students, and reaches out and provides services to 15 different immigrant communities with primary languages other than English.
The Church is a profound force for good in the world, and this is what our contributions support when we give to the Annual Appeal. Please try to do your part in supporting the Annual Appeal. The church as institution needs our assistance.