Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The 2009 Catholic Home Missions Appeal is scheduled nationally for the weekend of April 25-26. It provides a unique opportunity for Americans to assist struggling Catholic communities in the United States.
What is a “home mission”? You know the answer if you have ever visited eastern Kentucky or Tennessee; driven through rural Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; spent time on the Mexican border; or passed through scattered small towns in Wyoming, Montana and Oregon. Those little brick or clapboard churches you see along the way, housing pockets of Catholic faithful, are home missions.
The Catholic community in the United States is a community that is rich and poor, urban and rural, powerful and fragile. Our faith binds us together, but so do the bonds of charity. From dioceses where a few Catholics are scattered across tens of thousands of square miles to those that struggle with overwhelming numbers — especially ethnic and migrant communities concentrated in smaller areas, the home missions find challenges in bringing the faith to all. The goal of the appeal is to support the missions in the United States so that Catholics living in these areas can continue to hear the Gospel message.
Catholic parishes in rural America still continue to struggle. All of these poor U.S. dioceses — our neighbors — need financial assistance to provide religious services such as the Mass and the sacraments; religious education; and training for priests, deacons, women religious and lay ministers. To be a Catholic in these settings takes a strong faith. The Catholic Home Missions Appeal offers essential help.
Why should we support this appeal? For the reasons cited above and because this is wonderful opportunity for American Catholics to be brothers and sisters to one another, to extend one another a helping hand. Over 95 cents of every dollar donated to the appeal goes out to the missions. I invite you to respond generously to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal to share our faith and to help strengthen our Church in America.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport