Time to Speak —
Messages in the mail

Molly Keene Smith

The 2021 Catholic Services Appeal is well underway, and our office at the Pastoral Center receives mail each day that includes the signature blue, white and pink envelopes containing gifts and pledges from parishioners throughout the archdiocese. Opening that mail is an important responsibility and a humbling experience for me each time I participate.

Every envelope is carefully opened and every donation is meticulously documented. Many of the envelopes contain prayer intention cards to be placed in Archbishop Kurtz’s chapel. The staff does not read these cards. They are intended for the archbishop’s eyes only and are sent directly to him each day.

He prays privately for every intention received.

However, many donors write notes in the margins on their pledge form, make notations on their check, or jot down a message on the outside of their envelope. Reading these messages touches my heart:

“I am on a small fixed income. I wish I could give more to the Church that I love so much.”

“You are all in my prayers daily.”

“May our Blessed Mother guide and protect you.”

“This is all we can give this year. My husband has to retire due to health issues. We are struggling.”

“I’m giving more this year because God has blessed me in so many ways. Thank you Lord!”

“Please continue to pray for us and our family.”

No gift is ever taken for granted. Sometimes a few dollars in cash are sent with no pledge form and no return address on the envelope. Archbishop Kurtz is unable to send his personal thanks to these donors, as there is no way to determine their identity, but he prays for those who sent them. These gifts always bring to mind the widow in the Gospels who gave two small coins, a generous gift indeed.

Oftentimes there is an unstated message. Seeing the unsteady handwriting that was likely a struggle for the giver to complete, I imagine the effort and care an elderly parishioner took to fill out their form and make their annual gift to the appeal, as they perhaps have done faithfully for decades.

As we open the mail each day, we can feel the emotions of those who are struggling physically, financially or spiritually. We feel the deep faith of parishioners who make a gift to the Catholic Services Appeal, and the joy they receive from making their offering, knowing that their sacrifice will make an impact in their parish and throughout the 24 counties in the Archdiocese of Louisville. We feel the prayers offered up for Archbishop Kurtz and for all who work to fulfill the mission of the Church here in Central Kentucky. Please know that we are also praying for each of you.

If you have not yet made your gift to the 2021 Catholic Services Appeal, donations may be made by mail, in your parish collection basket, or securely online at www.ArchLou.org/CSA. If you are unable to make a gift this year, we humbly ask that you offer up your prayers for the success of the appeal and for all those whose lives are touched by the ministries it funds. Thank you for your generous gifts to the CSA, for your continued prayers, and for your heartfelt messages in the mail.

“Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.”
— Psalm 39:8

Molly Keene Smith is the director of the Office of Mission Advancement.

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Messages in the mail”