Annual Catholic Appeal – May 6, 2012 Rev. Emmett H. Carroll, Pastor
ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL 2012
May 6, 2012
In the sacrament of baptism, as the parents holding the infant stand near the
baptismal water, and as the godparents draw close, the pastor formally inquires as
to what these people request from the Church. “What do you ask of God’s Church
for your infant?” And the parents will answer “baptism,” or perhaps “faith,” or
they might say “entrance into the Church.” And the rite asks if parents understand
the baptismal duty to bring up the child in the faith by loving God and by loving
our neighbor. And the parents respond that they understand such a duty.
And the congregation joins the parents in renewing their baptismal vows. We reject
Satan and all his works. We profess our faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ
His Son, and in the Holy Spirit; and we add our belief in the Church and in our
resurrection to eternal life. “This is our faith…. We are proud to profess it.”
The parents have committed the child to a religious life, to the path first trod by
Jesus Christ. In baptism, you and I and all of us engage ourselves in the way of
scripture. We choose a compass that differs from the direction-finder of a worldly
person. Success has a religious core; it does not suffice to puff our egos while
trampling on others. Our love of God and love of neighbor will salt our
achievement. Without such baptismal fulfillment, we would discover only the
worldly direction. In rejecting Satan, we also more firmly embrace our faith in the
triune God. And we embrace the Church in its good works.
Especially on Sunday, we celebrate our baptism by attending to scripture, joining
in the Eucharistic offering, and receiving the bread of life. Thus we publicly
express our baptismal faith, even while also daily praying, and while living
The baptismal rite affects our loves, for by this rite we enter Christian living. An
important element of Christian life, the Annual Catholic Appeal, we mark today in
this parish. For as adults we pledge support for the ministries of our Church. We
support seminarians who in due time will administer the sacraments. We support
our deacon candidates, and we support religious sisters who aid us first in their
committed life and then in the religious works that engage them.
Our Archdiocese emits its clarion call to its people, to the baptized, to us who share
the Catholic and Christian way. If King County’s United Way and this island’s
One Call for All aid the work of institutes, ought we the baptized not hear the call
to advance the works of our Church?
By means of the Annual Catholic Appeal, you and I, baptized saints in the making,
enter the efforts of the Church, of the Archdiocese as it assists those who appeal,
not to this parish nor to some one entity, but to the broader view of the Archbishop.
Last summer, a dozen teens from this parish journeyed as pilgrims to Madrid to
share in World Youth Days. Pope Benedict joined in the festivities of that event.
One and a half million young people realized in a new manner the Catholicity of
this Church, for they rubbed shoulders with young folk who shared their faith, even
if they did not share the language, who received a fervent Eucharist, even if they
did not share the same manner of dress or of food. Like our own Youthies, these
baptized Catholics came to Madrid from the earth’s four corners, from Nigeria and
from Russia, from Brazil and Mongolia, from the Philippines and from Lebanon.
Experiencing the universal Church thrilled our people, and it enriched them to
realize a common bond of baptism, of faith in the scripture, of religiously living
the call of Christ to holiness.
Although the Madrid World Youth Festival lasted only a few days, its effects
remain with us. They remind us of our common baptism into Christ and of our
common concern for the effort of the Church to teach the children in this
Archdiocese as it spreads its arms from the Canadian to the Oregon border, from
the Peace Arch to the Columbia River, and from the crest of the Rockies to the
Pacific Ocean. That is a large reach; it encompasses 175 parishes.
The Seattle Archdiocese, for instance, spreads our baptismal faith through its office
of Catholic Faith Formation, an office that works through the parishes. Nine people
work in this office to aid parishes with programs that instruct children from
kindergarten through high school, programs that encourage and instruct
catechetical teachers, that informs us on Catholic social teaching with its cultural
and ethnic corollaries, and programs that bring aid from us to Mission parishes. Dr.
Mary Cross and Dr. Anne Frederick direct this office of Catholic Faith Formation.
Sixty ministries back up our parishes and advance the efforts of the Archdiocese in
many directions. This parish of St. Cecilia would be poor and pallid without such
programmatic aid. “Go,” said our Lord at His ascension, “and baptize all nations”
(Matthew 28:19). Our own baptism urges us to spread the good news. One way is
by responding financially to our baptismal urge.
Our goal this year for the Annual Catholic Appeal is sixty-eight thousand dollars.
Unlike a few other parishes last year, Saint Cecilia both reached its goal and even
enjoyed a rebate of over eight thousand dollars. I thank you for our successful
efforts in the past; I hope that our efforts are as successful in the coming year.
We pause now to fill out the pledge card in the pews. Please join me in surpassing
the goal that the Archdiocese asks of us.