Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the week-end of March 14-15, our diocese will take up the Catholic Relief Services Collection. This collection helps fund six agencies which work to serve our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Through humanitarian aid, resettling displaced individuals and families and providing legal and advocacy services for Immigrants, the Catholic Relief Services Collection allows us to see every encounter with a person who is suffering as an opportunity to help Jesus in disguise.
As you know, I was chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. In collaboration with Catholic Relief Services much work was done with the Church in the Central African Republic to raise awareness and advocate for those who were suffering. As a result of their intervention, the United States committed $101 million for Africa Union Peacekeepers and $30 million for humanitarian assistance. The number of African Union Peacekeepers increased from 1200 to nearly 6000. Through projects like these Catholic Relief Services helps the Church stop violence and seek assistance for those whose lives have been destroyed by conflict.
In January, Dr. Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services, was a speaker at the Iowa Institute for Social Action. Her words reminded us that CRS does not want to simply “help the poor”, but instead to help people be set free from poverty. As she noted, the larger work is to remove obstacles that keep people enslaved to poverty.
Our generosity will not only provide people freedom from poverty but also, hopefully, assist the processes which can lead to the systematic change which can help countries become self-sustaining. Together we can “help Jesus in disguise”.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
This weekend, I encourage you to use the Annual Diocesan Appeal card and envelope for this year’s appeal pledge and gift. The Diocese has again been generous in allowing all that we have pledged and given to come back to St. Luke’s for our building fund. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to help fund our facilities that will be open come late spring! Please be generous. You can put your pledge into the regular collection next week or drop it off at the office.
Please review the letter from Bishop Pates above concerning the mid Lent 2nd Collection for Catholic Relief Services. It is our opportunity to do some Lenten Alms giving that will help the poor on the International level.
On Tuesday, February 24, I hosted my priests’ support group at the rectory. That evening, the St. Luke’s School Board had its monthly meeting.
On Wednesday for lunch, the Ankeny Ministerial Association met at OLIH. Then we cancelled everything for the storm that did not come. Oh well. Thursday, the Social Concerns Team met for its regular meeting. We enjoyed our study book, “Forming Intentional Disciples.”
I encourage you to take advantage of the area Reconciliation Services on Sunday, March 15, 3:00 pm at OLIH or Monday, March 9, 7:00 pm at St. Joseph’s. Saturday mornings from 9-10:00 am, private Reconciliation is also held at St. Anne’s. Lent is a great time to know God’s mercy and peace.
Fr. Larry Hoffman