I have two bits of very good news for you this week.
First of all, I am happy to let you know that we have another priest here in the parish: Father Joseph McCabe. He is not a Parochial Vicar assigned here by the Cardinal, but another resident priest and student at Catholic University, like Father McDonnell. Unlike Father McDonell, he is studying canon law, and is a Maryknoll missionary who has experience at many interesting things, including some that might sound familiar: pastor, secretary to a Cardinal, and official of the Vatican.
Like Father Nick and Father DeRosa, he is an escapee, um, I mean, native of Long Island. How this Alabama boy winds up with all these New Yorkers is beyond me. But I do know how Father McCabe found his way to living here. We had met one another in the past, but only when he was looking for residence in Washington did several of our mutual acquaintances suggest that he contact me. The Universal Church is a small world some days.
You know I get self conscious about not providing enough variety to you. I worry that to get me and the Birmingham Buzzsaw coming at you every time you come to church can diminish not only the appeal, but also the effectiveness of my words and work. So I am delighted to have someone else on board to provide you with some variety, definitely in voice as well as in experience and approach. But you will be as pleased as I am that what he offers and preaches is the same: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. See, I told you it was good news! But wait – there’s more.
Two days ago I received the final update for last year’s Cardinal’s Appeal. Our parish not only met, but also exceeded the goal set for us by the Archdiocese. We contributed $151,411.02, which was 106.12% of our goal. Woohoo! We had pledged $166,266.08, so there was almost $15,000 in “slippage” between intention and achievement. Bear this in mind this year when I tell you our pledges have matched the goal – we will still need almost ten percent more!
It was the most successful Appeal ever for the Archdiocese, raising $13,866,654.00. That is more than $1.3 million above the stated goal for the Appeal, and almost $200,000 more than was raised in 2011. Oddly enough, the number of contributors this year was down by 2,159, to 41,569 households. So fewer people are providing more support to these vital charitable undertakings of our Archdiocese. Matching the trend in the Archdiocese, in our parish, 451 households contributed this year, down from 455 the previous year, and 473 in 2010. So a smaller core of Saint Bernadette parishioners is doing more for the needs of people in the Archdiocese – which news has both good and sad sides to it.
I am not at all sure of what Cardinal Wuerl thinks of first when he sees me or any other pastor of the Archdiocese, but I know that he follows participation in the Appeal closely, and for good reason. With this week’s report, I know I can continue to be quite proud to represent the people of Saint Bernadette to him or anyone else in the Archdiocese, on this and every other count. You all are great, and I am glad you show it in this way, as well as all the others that I see, even if the Cardinal does not.
Not that I think His Eminence misses much, if anything. But if I had a chance to walk him about the property, there are many, many more good things I would show him in this splendid, faithful parish, and many, many good people who make it so. Thank you for letting me know you and your fidelity. God bless and keep you.