Archbishop Paul S. Coakley February 5, 2017
As you see, much of this current issue of the Sooner Catholic is dedicated to our Annual Catholic Appeal. I hope you will read each feature and consider how beautifully “God’s Light Shines Through Us” when we act together as members of the one Body of Christ.
By now, each of you should have received information about this year’s appeal and the many life-affirming ministries and services that this annual commitment makes possible across all 108 parishes and missions that comprise the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. We are all in this together!
Ordinarily, Catholics experience the life and ministry of the Church in their own parishes. This is as it should be. But, the Catholic Church is not merely parochial or congregational. We are part of something larger and more universal even than our parishes. As we profess each Sunday, we “believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
The clearest sign of our unity is when we gather with the local bishop, presiding with his priests at the Eucharist. It is through the local bishop united in one communion of faith and charity with bishops everywhere, and with the Pope as the Vicar of Christ that we manifest most fully our Catholic unity. Our witness is most effective when we embrace our unity as Catholic Christians. Ours is a unity of faith, of charity and of mission.
The Annual Catholic Appeal is an invitation to embrace this unity and shared mission. By sharing our gifts and resources through the Annual Catholic Appeal we help further this mission and acknowledge our responsibility for one another. We have an obligation to hand on to others the riches of the Gospel that we have received.
Many of the ministries and services we depend on would not be possible if each parish was left to its own resources.
Only by working together can we advance our mission to share the joy of the Gospel: to form disciples, to provide education and formation for children and adults, train teachers and catechists, educate seminarians and support our clergy. Only by our common commitment can we provide opportunities for young Catholics to experience the joy of the Gospel, prepare couples for marriage, care for the needs of families and affirm the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death.
Ours is an ethnically and culturally diverse archdiocese. Certainly, we are enriched by this diversity. But, even though we may worship in different languages and celebrate different customs across the 46 counties of central and western Oklahoma, what unites us is our Catholic faith.
As you read this issue, I invite you to consider how much your faith means to you and how you can be a light for this world. Please make a generous gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal. God’s light shines through us.