Throughout the year, you are invited to support a wide variety of Catholic organizations and activities through our second collections.  The Catholic Charities Appeal, which is the most important collection each year, allows the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to serve thousands of people in the Archdiocese.  In fact, programs funded by the Catholic Charities Appeal assists one in five people in our Archdiocese.  Every year, you are very generous in response to this appeal.  To provide guidance, the Archdiocese sets goals for each parish.  Last year, our parish goal was $152,390 and, once again, we exceeded our goal!  In fact, we contributed $212,777, the most ever and the most that any parish gave in the entire archdiocese!  Our goal this year (2023-24) remains the same as last year – $152,390.00 – and contributions to date total $67,934.  If you have already sent in your contribution, I thank you.  If not, you still have a little time; the appeal for this year ends on 30 June.

The Seminary Appeal is also very important since it provides essential support for our seminary which prepares men for the priesthood.  As you probably already know, our seminary is moving to the grounds of Gwynedd Mercy University in Lower Gwynedd Township this summer.  Using the funds from the sale of our current property on City Line Avenue to Main Line Health, a facility that better meets our current needs is being built there.  Your ongoing support is especially important now as St. Charles Borromeo Seminary continues to prepare men for the priesthood in our Archdiocese as well as several other dioceses throughout the country for upcoming generations of Catholics.  Thank you for your support; so far this year, it has reached $18,335.

You respond to several other appeals throughout the year which provide very important aid to mission work, both here in the United States and around the world, care for retired and infirm clergy and religious and charitable support for people both locally, nationally and internationally.  Again, you are very generous – in this past year, our parish contributed more than $55,500 to these various appeals.  Due to your ongoing response to these appeals, many Catholic organizations here and worldwide are able to show God’s love to those in need.

But, there is one annual appeal that comes directly from our Holy Father because it provides a burse that allows him to respond to emergency needs.  This appeal is called Peter’s Pence because it is taken to support the Successor of Peter in his charitable outreach and because the 9th century King Alfred of England collected a “pence” from landowners for the pope.  The Peter’s Pence collection is traditionally taken up on a Sunday close to the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, celebrated on 29 June; this year, it will be taken up next weekend.  Its purpose is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.  For example, Pope Francis has provided funds to assist those displaced by war or civil unrest in Ukraine, Palestine, Lithuania and Sudan.  He has also funded relief efforts for people affected by natural disasters such as floods and wild fires in the Philippines, Albania and Japan.  Your generosity to the Peter’s Pence collection has allowed Pope Francis to provide much-needed support for many of these desperate people.

In his apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis has called each of us to “respond with faith and charity” as we see in each person “a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ” (§ 98).  Through the Peter’s Pence collection, we unite with the Holy Father as he reaches out to our brothers and sisters in need around the globe.  We stand in solidarity with Catholics all over the world to support the charitable works and outreach of the Holy See.  In Pope Francis, we have a joyful witness of charity.  By supporting this collection, we can experience more fully how “mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope” (Misericordiae Vultus, § 10).

Please prayerfully consider supporting the Peter’s Pence collection and please be generous next weekend as we take up this longstanding collection for the Successor of Peter.