Stewardship: ‘Let your light shine’ through Catholic Services Appeal

By Scott Whitaker

Guest Columnist

Each November, parishes across the Diocese of Austin participate in the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). Through the CSA, Catholics throughout our diocese are able to join together to support many critical diocesan ministries. Each gift to the CSA enables us to provide quality formation for 41 seminarians and 223 priests; educate thousands of students in our 23 Catholic schools; form our deacons, catechists and lay ministers; care for our retired priests; and provide direct assistance to countless families in need through Catholic Charities of Central Texas. Now in its 36th year, the CSA has provided more than $70 million of support to these ministries.

In addition, the CSA also allows us to share the gift of our Catholic faith with our communities. This year’s theme, "Let Your Light Shine," reminds us that we have been called by Christ to share his light and love with the world.

"The light of Christ shines, as in a mirror, upon the face of Christians; as it spreads, it comes down to us, so that we too can share in that vision and reflect that light to others... Faith is truly a good for everyone; it is a common good. Its light does not simply brighten the interior of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter; it helps us build our societies in such a way that they can journey towards a future of hope," writes Pope Francis in "Lumen Fidei."

This year was designated a "Year of Faith" by Pope Benedict XVI. During this year, we have been called to reopen the "door of faith" that was first opened at baptism and rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ and his church. As the Year of Faith draws to a close, this is an opportune time to share our renewed faith with our diocesan community.

As Pope Francis reminds us in "Lumen Fidei," "Faith is passed on, we might say, by contact, from one person to another, just as one candle is lighted from another." By sharing our blessings with one another, we are also sharing the light of our faith with one another, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Services Appeal provides us with a chance to be involved in diverse ministries, such as the education of seminarians, Catholic schools, Catholic Charities, Hispanic ministry and youth ministry, which affect our entire Catholic community. By sharing our faith and our gifts with one another, we are bringing the light of Christ not only to our communities in Central Texas, we are also building a community of faith that will last for generations. This commitment to stewardship allows the diocesan church to provide the necessary resources that one parish could not provide alone.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus challenges us to let our light shine before others (Mt 5:16). At a time when needs are increasing and resources are limited, our generosity to the CSA not only brings the light of Christ to individuals, families and parishes throughout our diocese, but it also serves as a powerful witness of our own faith and trust in the Lord.

Please prayerfully consider supporting the Catholic Services Appeal this November. Commitment weekend in our parishes is Nov. 2-3.

For more information about the CSA, visit www.austindiocese.org or call (512) 949-2400.

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