Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Each year, as you know, the Diocese of Bridgeport holds the Annual Catholic Appeal, a fundraising effort that helps to finance vital ministries and charitable works of the Catholic Church throughout Fairfield County. The 2021 Appeal has gone very well for most parishes: we at St. Pius are at 90% of our fundraising goal of $234,600. That amount has been reached through the generosity of 310 donors.
A new facet of the campaign this year is the pairing of parishes. That is, some of the parishes in the Diocese that are spiritually and pastorally vibrant, but cash-poor have been paired with larger parishes of greater financial means. When a parish goes over its fundraising goal, some or all of the monies raised over the goal are given to the sister-parish, where it can help to fund needed maintenance and ministries. We have been paired with St. George Parish, located on Park Avenue in Bridgeport, a stone’s throw from Seaside Park. The parish was once home to a large Lithuanian community, but in the last few decades has come to serve a mostly Hispanic and Spanish-speaking population. Though small in size, the parish is alive with real evangelical zeal. I have been talking with the pastor, Fr. Alexis Moronta about ways in which we can collaborate to mutually enrich our parish communities. In November, I will celebrate a Mass at St. George, and Fr. Alexis will join us on another November Sunday for a Mass here at St. Pius. We are both committed to the relationship between the parishes being more than a financial arrangement. Rather, the pairing of St. Pius and St. George is a reminder that every parish shares in the mission of Christ and the mission of the Gospel: united in faith, we are called to build one another up as we proclaim the Good News to the world. When we support a parish in need, we are assisting in the great work of evangelization, we are spiritually united more deeply with one another, and we are able to meet the human needs that are before us all.
Bishop Caggiano has explained that this partnering of parishes is a reminder that we all have a stake in the health and vibrancy of the Church in Fairfield County. Not only do we help to make our own parish homes beautiful places of worship, prayer, and service, but we also are called to support other parishes in their pursuit of holiness and pastoral ministry. This applies both to individual parishes and to individual Catholics. Every one of us can be part of this tremendous effort! We are a parish of over 2,400 families. 90% of our Annual Catholic Appeal goal has been donated by 310 of those families. Imagine the impact we could make if we doubled the number of families participating in the ACA? 600 participating households would bring our participation number to 25% of the registered families. If 300 more families made a donation of $100 to the Annual Catholic Appeal, we would surpass our goal and be able to send nearly $7,000 to a parish very much in need. Imagine if all 2,400 families of our parish participated! As much as the bottom line might stand out, of far greater importance is the symbolic value of our whole parish community joining together with the whole Catholic community of the Diocese of Bridgeport. We are one in this effort to bring the Gospel to the world, one in this effort to build up the Body of Christ on earth, one in this effort to serve those most in need, one in our effort to live the Catholic faith with integrity and joy.
To learn more about the Annual Catholic Appeal or to make a gift, please visit https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/aca/home/. I look forward to welcoming Fr. Alexis here in a few weeks, and to visiting the community of St. George in person soon!