As the Catholic Services Appeal begins again with a goal this year of $3.5 million, potential donors may wonder where that money goes.
Following are a few examples of how these funds were used in the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.
- Sixty-six people who were bought and sold for sex or labor in Kentucky received care and assistance from Catholic Charities of Louisville in the last year. And about 4,400 people in Kentucky were trained to help prevent human trafficking.
- More than 400 families received life-skills training, such as parenting and budgeting classes, at the Catholic Enrichment Center.
- The archdiocese also provided emergency assistance, such as rent, food and prescription aid, to more than 3,300 people.
Every person who contributed to the Catholic Services Appeal in years past year had a hand in these works of mercy.
The Catholic Services Appeal, or CSA as it’s known in shorthand, provides funding for more than 100 ministries and services of the Archdiocese of Louisville. The 2016 campaign began last weekend.
The statistics, listed above, represent just a few of a host of works of mercy accomplished by the people of the archdiocese in the last year. More of these works are listed in the archdiocese’s accountability report, which has been included in this week’s issue of The Record.
In its pages, archdiocesan leaders have provided both a qualitative and quantitative report on its activities and expenditures. You can see lists of operating expenses and charts that show how funds were spent in the last fiscal year.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz writes in a message on page one of the report that the summary of finances “reflects how together we seek to be ‘merciful like the father.’ ”
“These pages reflect our efforts to be accountable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this time and place,” he writes. “The mercy of the Father echoes through the sampling of activities depicted and provides the ‘bottom line’ for the financial reporting presented.”
“We are all called and we are all sent to give of ourselves in love,” he concludes. “I am proud to present this summary that reflects how together we seek to be ‘merciful like the Father.’ ”
The archbishop repeated the phrase “merciful like the Father” a couple of times in his message and repeats it often in homilies, too. It’s a reference to the jubilee Year of Mercy, which will conclude on Nov. 20.
When the jubilee year began Dec. 8, Pope Francis called on Catholics around the world to give more of their time to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
“How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God,” Pope Francis wrote in his proclamation for the Holy Year, known as a bull of indiction. “May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the kingdom of God is already present in our midst.”
While the jubilee year ends on the feast of Christ the King late next month, Catholics should not stem the flow of mercy tapped during this Holy Year. The faithful should instead find ways to commit to fostering mercy in every area of their lives — from contributing to the CSA to reaching out a hand of mercy to someone in need.