Thursday, 04 October 2012 09:27
WICHITA – The St. Thomas Aquinas Mission Outreach is celebrating its 15th anniversary of giving – and the milestone of donating over $1 million to charities outside of the parish.
DeAnn White, chairperson for the parish’s Mission Outreach, said the apostolate assists 38 parishes and agencies every year.
“Our parishioners have a deep sense of gratitude for the many blessings we receive from God, and in turn we are able to help so many,” she said. “Our donations range from 50 cents to $2,000. With many families contributing to the fund, we can combine our resources to make a small difference in the community.”
Keeping in mind the corporal works of mercy, the Mission Outreach Apostolate provides assistance to the poor, homeless, sick, imprisoned, and bereaved. Ninety-five percent of the funds remain in the Wichita area.
Catholic school students associated with the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund receive about one-third of the assistance. The aid helps replace outdated textbooks or provides scholarship funds enabling students to attend a Catholic high school. Other recipients include The Lord’s Diner, Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, the Guadalupe Clinic, A Better Choice, Birthline, and many other organizations.
Mission Outreach donations do not include personal donations parishioners make directly to their charities nor in-kind donations, such as the food drive.
“Just as our parishioners are called to care for the gift of our eternal life, we are also called to care for the gifts of God’s creation,” said Father Matt McGinness, pastor.
“Sharing our resources with those in need truly follows the practice of stewardship and brings the Gospel message to life. I believe the parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas follow the message of God. ‘As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace,’” he said, quoting 1 Peter 4:10.
The parish apostolate began in 1995 under the leadership of Fr. Sean O’Shea after parish members of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church completed a Vision 2000 survey. As a result, they made several key decisions that included a capital campaign to build onto the school and to help those outside of their parish who are less fortunate.
Since 1997 parishioners tithing envelop packets have included a separate yellow envelope for the Mission Outreach Apostolate.