Pope’s New Year priorities: Refugees, youths, trips, more Curia reform

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Foreign trips, a focus on the rights and needs of migrants and refugees and a Synod of Bishops dedicated to young people all are on the 2018 calendar for Pope Francis.
His activities and the passions that drive them are familiar by now. In fact, March 13 will mark the fifth anniversary of his election as pope, succeeding retired Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Francis, newly 81, will begin 2018 with a focus on Mary and on migrants and refugees.
As with all modern popes, Pope Francis’ Marian devotion and his concern for people forced to flee their homes have been a constant in his ministry.
But Pope Francis is the first to dedicate a celebration of World Peace Day specifically to the theme of migrants and refugees. On Jan. 1, for the 51st time, the Catholic Church will begin the new year praying for peace. The day also is the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and while Pope Francis sent a message to heads of state in November reflecting on the peace day theme, his homily at the Mass is likely to focus on Mary.
The pope’s focus on migrants and refugees will come to the fore again Jan. 14 when he adds to the normal papal liturgical calendar a special Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
In both his message for the Jan. 14 celebration and his message for World Peace Day, Pope Francis urged Catholic involvement in the drafting of the U.N. global compacts for migrants and for refugees.
Approving the development of the compacts in September 2016, “world leaders clearly expressed their desire to take decisive action in support of migrants and refugees to save their lives and protect their rights,” the pope said in his message. He urged Catholics to get involved by lobbying their governments to include in the compacts proposals that would ensure the welcome, protection, promotion and integration of migrants and refugees.
Although work on the compacts suffered a setback when the Trump administration announced in early December it was pulling out of the process and would not be a party to the accords, the United Nations hopes to have a draft of the documents ready by February. Late in 2018, the U.N. General Assembly will hold a conference to adopt the compacts.
On Jan. 15, Pope Francis will set off for a six-day visit to Chile and Peru. As is his style, the trip will include meetings with government authorities and large public Masses, but also a visit to a women’s prison and to a home for children at risk.
As of Dec. 20, no other papal trips for 2018 had been confirmed, although Vatican officials have said it is almost certain Pope Francis will travel to Dublin in late August for the World Meeting of Families; on the same trip, he is likely to be the first pope to visit Northern Ireland.

A former Vietnamese refugee becomes a bishop

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Diocese of Orange, California, received an early Christmas present in the form of a new bishop Dec. 19, when a man who entered the country as a young refugee from Vietnam in 1973 became its new auxiliary bishop.
Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen, 64, became the second priest born in Vietnam to become a bishop in the United States. The first, Bishop Dominic M. Luong — an auxiliary bishop of the Orange Diocese from 2003 until his retirement in 2015 — died days before, on Dec. 6, at age 77.
Some saw the two events — the ordination of Bishop Nguyen and the death of his predecessor — as a providential passing of the torch. A Dec. 14 article from The Orange County Register, about Bishop Luong’s funeral, quotes Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange saying the events are “part of God’s plan for our diocese.”
Bishop Vann told the new bishop during the ordination ceremony: “You, in another way, daily, will be a bearer of light to those in need of guidance and hope, who are surrounded by darkness at times, who are trying to find their way back to God,” according to a Dec. 26 article from the Daily Pilot, a community publication of the Los Angeles Times.
As a young man, Bishop Nguyen had part of his religious journey interrupted when he was forced to flee his native country as a seminarian, spending 18 days at sea without food or water in a boat with others trying to flee the violence of the war. He and his family became part of a statistic of 3 million Vietnamese refugees who survived but were displaced from their native land, and were among the two million refugees from Vietnam resettled in the United States. In his adopted home, he continued his education, which included religious formation.
Though he worked for a short period as a math and science teacher in Connecticut, in 1984 he joined the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, studying at Merrimack College and the Weston School of Theology in Massachusetts. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1991.
Family, friends and former fellow seminarians who were with him along that journey and the years that followed — as a priest in Georgia and Florida — attended his mid-December ordination as bishop at St. Columban Church in Garden Grove, California. The event included news coverage by media from Vietnam, The Orange County Register reported.
“You will minister to many people who have all kinds of hands dealt to them, some joyful, others not,” Bishop Vann told him during the ordination ceremony, according to news reports.
Some of those he will serve arrived in the U.S. as he did, as refugees from Vietnam but also as migrants with a variety of immigration journeys and include Catholics from Latin America, the Philippines, as well as Korea and their U.S.-born descendants. Of the multicultural Diocese of Orange’s 1.3 million estimated members, some 70,000 to 100,000 include Vietnamese American Catholics and may well be the largest such congregation in the U.S.
Bishop Nguyen’s appointment comes at a time when anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment in the U.S. seems to be on the upswing and as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to limit the entrance of various migrant and refugee groups and expedite the deportations of many who are in the country without legal documentation.
Bishop Nguyen, who was in refugee camps in the Philippines for 10 months before arriving in the U.S., said politicians should “put listening to the story of a human being into their decision-making,” in an interview with the International Catholic Migration Commission.
In the interview, he encouraged others to “listen to refugees’ stories with open hearts and open minds,” to consider what they go through while learning another language and trying to adapt to a new culture.
“Refugees’ lives are filled with a lot of courage and heroic acts,” he said.
He also encouraged policies to “help refugees and migrants to have the opportunity to live as human beings, as was the case for me.”

For New Year, pope urges help for refugees, respect for life

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis began the New Year praying the world would demonstrate a marked increase in solidarity and welcome for migrants and refugees.
“Let’s not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let’s not suffocate their hopes for peace,” the pope said Jan. 1 before reciting the Angelus with a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
For the New Year’s celebration of World Peace Day and the feast of Mary, Mother of God, Pope Francis had chosen to focus on migrants and refugees and their yearning for peace.
“For this peace, which is the right of all, many of them are willing to risk their lives in a journey that, in most cases, is long and dangerous and to face trials and suffering,” the pope told an estimated 40,000 people gathered in the square around the Christmas tree and Nativity scene.
Pope Francis said it is important that everyone, including individuals, governments, schools, churches and church agencies, make a commitment to “ensuring refugees, migrants — everyone — a future of peace.”
Entrusting the needs of migrants and refugees to the maternal concern of Mary, the pope led the crowd in reciting a traditional Marian prayer: “Under thy protection we seek refuge, holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our needs, but from all dangers deliver us always, Virgin, Glorious and Blessed.”
Pope Francis had begun the day celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Marian feast, which he said was a celebration of “a magnificent truth about God and about ourselves: From the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary, and for all time, he took on our humanity.”
“To call Mary the mother of God reminds us,” he said, that “God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb.”
God becoming human in the baby Jesus, the pope said, is an affirmation that human life “is precious and sacred to the Lord,” so “to serve human life is to serve God.”
“All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped,” he said.
Pope Francis also drew people’s attention to the fact that in the Gospel stories of Jesus’ birth, Mary is silent. And the newborn Jesus, obviously, cannot speak.
“We need to remain silent as we gaze upon the crib,” he said. “Pondering the crib, we discover anew that we are loved; we savor the real meaning of life. As we look on in silence, we let Jesus speak to our heart.
“May his lowliness lay low our pride; his poverty challenge our pomp; his tender love touch our hardened hearts,” the pope prayed.
Celebrating evening prayer Dec. 31 and offering thanks to God for the year that was ending, Pope Francis gave a special acknowledgement to people — especially parents and teachers — who are “artisans of the common good,” working to help their families, neighbors and communities each day without fanfare.
But, he said, people also must acknowledge that God gave humanity the year 2017 “whole and sound,” yet “we human beings have in many ways wasted and wounded it with works of death, with lies and injustices. Wars are the flagrant sign of this backsliding and absurd pride. But so are all the small and great offenses against life, truth and solidarity, which cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation.”
The pope also led the midday Angelus prayer Dec. 31, the feast of the Holy Family.
The Sunday Gospel reading recounted Mary and Joseph taking the baby Jesus to the temple “to certify that the child belongs to God and that they are the guardians of his life and not the owners,” the pope said.
Mary and Joseph experience the joy of seeing their son grow in wisdom, grace and strength, the pope said. “This is mission to which the family is called: to create the best conditions that will allow for the harmonious and full growth of children, so that they can live a life that is good, worthy of God and constructive for the world.”
Growth and rebirth are possibilities open to every family, he said. “Whenever families, even those wounded and marked by frailty, failure and difficulty, return to the source of Christian experience, new paths and unimagined possibilities open up.”

Vatican agency says at least 23 church workers killed in 2017

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The majority of Catholic Church workers violently killed in 2017 were victims of attempted robberies, the Vatican’s Fides agency said, with Nigeria and Mexico topping the list countries where the most brutal murders were carried out.
The agency said 23 people working for the church worldwide — 13 priests, one religious brother, one religious sister and eight lay persons — died violent deaths in 2017; that number was down from 28 people killed in 2016.
Each year, Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, publishes a list of pastoral workers who died violently. The 2017 list was released Dec. 28.
For the ninth year in a row, the Americas continued to be the continent most affected by violence against Catholic Church workers with 11 people killed there in 2017; with four of those deaths in Mexico, that nation continues to be where the greatest number of priests in Latin America are killed, it said.
Ten pastoral workers were killed in Africa, half of them in Nigeria, and two workers were killed in Asia, both in the Philippines, the report said.
“Once again the majority of the pastoral care workers were killed in attempted robbery, and in some cases violently attacked — a sign of the climate of moral decline, economic and cultural poverty, which generates violence and disregard for human life,” the agency said in its report.
“Hardly any investigations conducted by the local authorities led to identifying and convicting the perpetrators and the instigators of these killings or the reasons why they were carried out,” it added.
Those killed “are only the tip of the iceberg,” it said as the report does not include the number of pastoral workers or Catholic faithful who are assaulted, beaten, robbed or threatened, nor does it document properties owned by the Catholic Church that are attacked, vandalized or looted.
The report also spoke of the church’s concern for the ongoing kidnappings of priests and nuns, who are most often abducted by extremist groups or by captors seeking ransom. The fates of many kidnapped religious sisters and priests still remain unknown, Fides said.
According to Fides, 424 pastoral care workers, including five bishops, were killed worldwide from 2000 to 2016.

National and world news, January 5, 2018

Pope prints postcard illustrating the horror of war, Nagasaki
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As 2017 was drawing to a close, the horrors of war and people’s yearnings for peace were on Pope Francis’ mind and in his prayers.
In an unusual move late Dec. 30, the pope had the Vatican press office and Vatican media distribute a copy of a famous photograph from the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
The photo shows a young boy, about 10 years old, carrying his dead little brother on his back. The boy is taking his brother to be cremated.
On the back of the card, Pope Francis wrote, “The fruit of war” and signed his name.

Pope on New Year’s Day: Devotion to Mary is a must
VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - At the start of the new year, Pope Francis said that having a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary isn’t just something that is nice or good to do, but is an obligation in the life of a Christian.
“Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life,” the Pope said Jan. 1. “The gift of the Mother, the gift of every mother and every woman, is most precious for the Church, for she too is mother and woman.”
“If our faith is not to be reduced merely to an idea or a doctrine, all of us need a mother’s heart, one which knows how to keep the tender love of God and to feel the heartbeat of all around us.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, reflecting on the line in Luke’s Gospel that says, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”
He pointed out that in the Gospel account of Christmas, Mary does not speak a single word, simply keeping everything in her heart, pondering it.
What we learn from her silence, he said, is that in quiet is how we “keep” ourselves, how we “keep” our soul free from being corroded by consumerism, “the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.”
“We need to remain silent as we gaze upon the crib. Pondering the crib, we discover anew that we are loved; we savor the real meaning of life,” he continued.
“As we look on in silence, we let Jesus speak to our heart. His lowliness lays low our pride; his poverty challenges our outward display; his tender love touches our hardened hearts.”
This is Mary’s “secret,” he said, and we should seek to imitate her in this way. Not closing our hearts out of fear or distress, but handing everything over to God, dwelling on it with him.

Catholic swimmer Katie Ledecky named Female athlete of ’17
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Associated Press named Katie Ledecky the Female Athlete of the Year Dec. 26, after balloting by U.S. editors and news directors.
Ledecky, a graduate of Little Flower School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland, received 351 points in the vote, placing her ahead of tennis star Serena Williams, who received 343 points. She was the eighth female swimmer to earn the honor and the first since Amy Van Dyken in 1996.
The vote reflected Ledecky’s dominance in the July 2017 world championships in Budapest, Hungary, where she earned five gold medals and one silver medal.
Ledecky first entered the world stage as a 15-year-old in the 2012 London Olympics, the summer after her freshman year at Stone Ridge. In that competition, she surprised people around the world by winning a gold medal in the women’s 800-meter freestyle and finishing the race in record time.
Ledecky is known for setting lofty goals for herself and achieving them, working hard and taking part in grueling workout schedules.

Pope, Turkey’s president discuss status of Jerusalem
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone Dec. 29 about the status of Jerusalem.
Before giving his Christmas blessing Dec. 25, Pope Francis again prayed “for peace for Jerusalem and for all the Holy Land.”
He asked the crowd in St. Peter’s Square to join him in praying that “the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties.”

What is the devil’s favorite sin? An exorcist responds
MADRID, Spain, (CNA) - Is an exorcist afraid? What is the devil’s favorite sin? These and other questions were tackled in an interview with the Dominican priest, Father Juan José Gallego, an exorcist from the Archdiocese of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain.
Almost a decade after Fr. Gallego was appointed as exorcist, he was interviewed by the Spanish daily El Mundo. The priest said that in his experience, pride is the sin the devil likes the most.
“Have you ever been afraid?” the interviewer asked.
“In the beginning I had a lot of fear,” Fr. Gallego replied. “All I had to do was look over my shoulder and I saw demons… the other day I was doing an exorcism, ‘I command you! I order you!’…and the Evil One, with a loud voice fires back at me: ‘Galleeeego, you’re over-doooing it.’ That shook me.”
When people are possessed, he added, “they lose consciousness, they speak strange languages, they have inordinate strength, they feel really bad, you see very well-mannered people vomiting and blaspheming.”
“There was a boy whom the demon would set his shirt on fire at night and things like that. He told me what the demons were proposing him to do: If you make a pact with us, you’ll never have to go through any more of what you’re going through now.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many in the winter

By Sally Beck
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that occurs during a specific time of year, usually the winter, although some report having SAD in the summer. Symptoms of SAD usually begin in October or November and continue until March or April, with the worst symptoms being in the darkest months.
Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, and can trigger depression. For those already struggling with depression it can increase the symptoms. Winter onset symptoms include depression, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arm or legs, social withdrawal, oversleeping, and difficulty concentrating.
Take signs and symptoms of SAD seriously, as it can get worse and lead to problems if it is not treated. These can include: suicidal thoughts or behaviors, social withdrawal, school or work problems, and substance abuse. It is very important to see your doctor if you feel you may be struggling with these symptoms to see if you may need temporary medication to help you maintain through the difficult months.
If you experience depression all year round it is important also to see your doctor and seek mental health services to learn the skills needed to better manage your emotions and have the life you want.
To manage symptoms practice good sleep habits, eat a healthy diet, exercise more, take medication as prescribed and learn how to manage side effects, look for activities that make you happy, avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, talk with someone you can trust about how you are feeling, try to be around people who are caring and positive, and volunteer or get involved in group activities.
Beck, a licensed specialist clinical social worker, has practiced for over 12 years. For more information contact Cana Counseling at Catholic Charities, (316) 263-6941, or toll free at 1-866-839-4327 or visit CanaCouseling.org.

A blessed Christmas to all

“Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”(Lk 2:10-12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Solemnity of Christmas will be upon us very soon. I wish to take this opportunity to extend to all of you, the people of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita my heartfelt wishes for a blessed and joyful Christmas. I pray that you and your loved ones will experience the deeply personal love of God as you gather for Christmas Mass and later with family and friends to continue to celebrate the wonder of the incarnation of God’s only begotten Son.
I encourage you to make Christmas a spiritual time, a time of prayer and worship, a time to rejoice in the seemingly small and sometimes hidden graces of God, a time of reflection on the state of our world, country, communities and families and a time to invite Jesus Christ more fully into your heart as Messiah and Lord.
God chose to enter the world of flesh and blood as a baby, a small defenseless child, born into a very poor family, to be born in a manger, a place where farm animals escape from the cold and eat. These biblical truths remind us that God works in mysterious ways and that he chooses people, places and circumstances in which to bring about his plan, that often defy human logic and reason.
God, who is greater than the cosmos, all powerful and all knowing, chooses to be small, powerless, vulnerable and weak, demonstrating to those with faith that as St. Paul would say many years later, choosing” the foolish of the world to shame the wise, the weak of the world to shame the strong, the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something.” (1 Cor 1:27-28)
Friends, we are among the foolish, weak and even sometimes despised of the world, but God has chosen us, like the shepherds, to announce and proclaim good news of great joy.
Like previous generations, ours also needs and deserves to hear this good news and see it lived out in works of faith, hope and love, so that all will come to know that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”(Jn 3:16)
Will we go forth with this message, proclaimed in word and deed? Will we be missionary evangelists and disciples at home, at work, at school, wherever we find ourselves, proclaiming and living Christmas joy and peace? May God help us to fulfill this mission every day of 2018 and beyond! God bless you all! Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad!
+ Bishop Carl A. Kemme

Orienting prayer for the faithful

Ministry helps adoration participants get a sense of the transcendent
There are few practices more spiritually fulfilling than Eucharistic adoration, but a group of volunteers is making prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament nearly transcendent.
Jesse Elpers, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, said the seed for Wichita Adore Ministries, or WAM, was planted about six years ago with a group organizing Eucharistic adoration.
“And back in 2014 it kind of blew up. Suddenly there were hundreds of people coming to each adoration event,” he said. “Since then we’ve done probably 230 adoration events or retreats and other events around the diocese and the archdiocese of Kansas City and a couple outside of the state.”
Elpers said WAM assists parishes, Catholic schools, and retreats with adoration events, and last year began designing productions for larger Catholic events such as youth rallies and youth conferences that include sound, lighting, photo, presentation, and video. And they do it with just over a dozen or so volunteers.
The ministry was a fruit of adoration, he said, adding that it was clearly the result of inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
“We try to dress up adoration at our events to make it very easy to, one, focus on the Eucharist and two, to start a prayer with Christ,” he said. “A lot of people who come to our events are not regular adorers – people who don’t have a weekly adoration hour. But we’re hoping to provide them with a medium to go through a holy hour, whether that be with worship music or silence during an event, and make it easy to focus on the Eucharist on the altar through careful lighting and setup.”

Want to host a WAM event?
Parishes or Catholic ministries interested in hosting a Eucharistic adoration events with Wichita Adore Ministries’ assistance, may contact Jesse Elpers at jelpers@wichitaadore.com or at 316-295-6805. See related story on page 8 of the print edition.

Is the school the sole mission of a parish?

What we’ve learned about Stewardship
By Fr. Ken Van Haverbeke
“Does this parish exist to run a school? It seems to me, that we are spending too much money and energy on our parish school? What about other activities and ministries? Is the education of our children our only mission?”
These are good questions that came from a middle aged man at a parish town hall meeting. Sometimes we can be so focused on doing something because “we have always done it that way” that we must stop and reassess why.
In the Diocese of Wichita, we have 120,527 individual parishioners. In our 39 grade and high schools, we have close to 11,000 students. If you were to add up the number of students plus their families, one would see that this is a large group in the parish and diocese and hence it would make sense to direct much of our time, talent, and treasure toward this population in the diocese.
However, we would be gravely mistaken to exclude other missions within the parish or diocese. But how do we prioritize the many possibilities?
“I really hate mission statements!” Cody, a long time parishioner told me: “We spend forever creating them, and then they get stuck on the front of the bulletin where no one reads them.”
How true! But “missions” or mission statements help us to focus our time, talents, and treasures. They allow us to gratefully recognize and receive our needs and gifts, and show us where to share our gifts, such as in a Catholic school or a St. Vincent de Paul society. A mission statement allows a parish to intentionally make use of its resources.
Another way of looking at a mission statement is to think about “core values.” A core value is something that is important to you. Most parishes would include the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy as core values.
The corporal works of mercy, based on Matthew 25:31-36, are: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit the imprisoned; care for the sick; bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy, commanded or encouraged in many places of Scripture, are: admonish the sinner; instruct the ignorant; advise the perplexed; comfort the sorrowful; bear wrongs patiently; forgive all injuries; pray for the living and dead.
In the Diocese of Wichita, we have learned while Catholic education of the children is seen as very important, other missions are also generously and sacrificially supported.
Some examples: Eucharistic Adoration (three fourths of our parishes have some sort of regular Eucharistic adoration); compassion ministries to the bereaved, home bound, hospitalized, elderly; The Lord’s Diner and the many parish food pantries; mission shops where clothing is distributed; funeral dinners; Mass intentions for the dead and living.
It must be remembered by parishes who have Catholic schools, in placing much energy and resources in one mission, we must not neglect others.

Appeal to help parishes with second priest is about two-thirds funded

Fund helps several financially-strapped parishes with second priest
Blessings sometimes present challenges.
Last May the diocese was blessed with the ordination of 10 priests who were assigned to numerous parishes, a few of which had not had two priests for many years – or ever.
“Bishop Kemme ordained 10 men to the priesthood and 10 to the transitional diaconate in May,” said Michael Wescott, director of the diocesan Office of Development and Planned Giving. “That means, God willing, in June we’ll have 20 young priests ministering to the good people of our diocesan family.”
That blessing also presents challenges – especially to parishes that receive assistance for their schools through the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund. The unplanned $40,400 needed for the salary and health benefits for a second priest, the blessing of a parochial vicar, stresses the parish’s budget.
The Parochial Vicar Assistance Appeal was created to help four parishes in the Wichita area – Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Patrick, St. Anne and St. Margaret Mary – over a three-year period. The parish pays half of the parochial vicar’s salary the first year, half the second year, and then two-thirds in the third year. The difference will be made up through the generosity of those contributing to the appeal.
“It is intended that at the conclusion of three years, the parish will sustain the cost of a parochial vicar through the generous stewardship of their parishioners,” Wescott said.
The three-year, total goal for the appeal is $175,000. As of last month, $117,000 had been donated to the fund, nearly 67 percent of the amount needed in just seven months.
“I want to express – especially on behalf of Bishop Kemme – the gratitude and great appreciation to the donors for their commitment to the Stewardship way of life in making this initiative successful,” Wescott said.
“The four parishes that have benefited this past year through the additional ministry of a priest are truly blessed by the sharing of the donors’ gifts of treasure.”