This weekend we begin our annual Together in Mission campaign. It is an appropriate time to pause, and to acknowledge all those who participated in our 2018 campaign. The final report I received from the Together in Mission office shows that while it took a little longer than in the past, as a parish community we managed to meet our parish goal of $120,915. Our pledges for 2018 amounted to $137,091. The final amount we actually contributed as a parish to the 2018 campaign was $130,736.61.
According to the policy of the Together in Mission Campaign, all amounts in excess of our goal are returned to the parish. I expect that once everything is accounted for and processed at the Together in Mission Office, we will be receiving a rebate in the amount of $9,821.61.
When I first came to Our Lady of Lourdes almost eight years ago, and in consultation with the Parish Finance Council, we developed a policy that whenever our parish exceeded our Together in Mission goal, the rebate would be used for organizations which we support as a parish community, and which do very good work in the community. We intentionally choose groups and organizations that serve some of the most disenfranchised, the most peripheral, the most often sidelined in society. We have, over the past eight years, made contributions in the name of our parish community to MEND, The Valley Family Center, Catholic Charities, San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission Homeless Shelter, Angels Way Maternity Home, Rancho San Antonio, Guadalupe Center, St. Vincent DePaul and the Pregnancy Counselling Center, among others. These are among a group of organizations with which we are happy to be associated, and whose work in the community we are glad to support.
Every year we consider how our parish, as a whole, can practice the stewardship we encourage among our individual members. Our support of charitable organizations such as these is an important aspect of our Christian Stewardship. It is a way for us, as a community, to support charitable endeavors which we are not equipped to achieve on our own, but because of our relationships with these organizations and groups, nonetheless we can collectively make positive contributions to our community. Everyone who contributes to Together in Mission can be proud of not only contributing to communities in dire need across our Archdiocese, but also of contributing to the wonderful work undertaken by local organizations to improve the lives of many in our own local communities.
While I express my gratitude to all who have participated in the Together in Mission campaign in the past, I also want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to participate in our 2019 Together in Mission Campaign. I encourage those who have participated in the past to renew their commitment, and those who are considering participating to make arrangements to do so. Many employers offer matching gifts to their employees’ donations, so that is something to check into… it’s a great way to maximize our contributions.
Together in Mission is a unique program within the Catholic Church of the United States. Most, if not all dioceses and Archdioceses across the country have an annual appeal like this. In most cases, funds raised are divided among the areas and ministries of identified needs. However, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the only one in the country with which I am familiar in which fully 100% of the contributions go directly to serve the neediest Catholic communities in our local Church. Throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the entire proceeds of the Together in Mission appeal are disbursed to our Catholic parishes and schools most in need. There is no other purpose toward which these funds are directed.
Next week we will be celebrating our 60th anniversary as the Catholic presence in Northridge as we celebrate “One Parish, One Mass.” These years are years in which we have accomplished and done so much as a community of faith. It is good that we acknowledge and celebrate that our care and our service is not purely parochial, but that we serve the needs of our brothers and sisters in faith beyond our parish borders. It is good to intentionally participate in this outreach that witnesses to our being blessed, and our eagerness to share our blessings with others who have unique and radical challenges.
May God bless all those who choose to participate in this wonderful opportunity to make a real difference in the life of our local Church.