"As disciples of Jesus we are called to be bearers of hope,” said Archbishop Donald Bolen as he addressed the Kick-off activities for the Archbishop’s Appeal held September 21 at Our Lady of Peace Church.
“Building up hope in our communities, communicating it to others by the way we live and by our active outreach in love,” was Archbishop Bolen’s message of support for the Appeal. He was the last of several speakers to talk about the importance of the Appeal in carrying out the various ministries in service to the people of the Archdiocese of Regina. The theme for this year’s campaign is Hope, Born of Mercy which was reflected in the Archbishop’s message to parish representatives who were together for the Appeal Kick-off. “The Appeal is a tangible way in which we can foster hope. The many things the Appeal can fund are so important for us to know and to name.” He mentioned specifically the nine seminarians who are at various stages on their journey to the priesthood. It is the largest group of archdiocesan seminarians since the early 1950s. He also spoke briefly about the Diaconate and Lay Formation programs and the ecumenical activities carried out by the Ecumenical office.
Donor Services Coordinator Denise Walsh gave a brief overview of the 2016 campaign and thanked everyone involved at the parish level for all the work they do in helping the campaign achieve its goals.
The program began with a presentation of the new video which all parishes are encouraged to show. The video features Archbishop Bolen talking about his youth and the rural church of St. Elizabeth where he first heard the Word of God, and shows other individuals testifying how Appeal funds helped them grow in their faith and also to minister to others through Health Care, Youth Ministry and Lay Formation.
The video was followed with brief presentations by Director of Pastoral Services Robert Kowalchuk, Ecumenical Coordinator Nick Jesson, and Financial Officer Reverend Deacon Barry Wood. Last year’s campaign raised $1,280,000. Disbursements in 2016 from the 2015 campaign amounted to $1,132,220, which supported 27 ministries and community outreach programs. Thirty-two parishes reached their goal last year and were awarded just over $44,000 in rebates. Parishes receive rebates of 80% of the funds donated over and above their goal.
The goal for this year’s campaign is $1,600,000, an increase of $200,000. Parish goals, however, will continue to be calculated at a total of $1,400,000. Archbishop Bolen said the remaining $200,000 will be raised separately. The Appeal is a year-long campaign and most of the money comes in after the Kick-off.
A live Thinking Faith podcast, patterned after an old-time radio show, complete with live music, jokes, adlibs, special guests and commercials, was all written and produced by diocesan staff. The hosts engaged the audience to become part of the podcast which added to the enthusiastic humour of the whole presentation.
As part of the podcast, Braden Kuntz, Assistant Youth Ministry Coordinator led participants in two praise songs accompanied with his guitar. Sister ReAnne Letourneau and members of the Aboriginal Non- Aboriginal Relations Community invited people to sing along to Amazing Grace in Cree and English, Seminarians Parker Love and Chinh Vu answered questions about life in the seminary, and recently ordained priest Reverend Arpee Urquico responded to questions about the busy life of a new priest. The podcast was hosted by Archdiocesan Theologian Dr. Brett Salkeld and Eric Gurash, Coordinator for Lay Formation and Evangelization. The podcast was a great success and was released on October 3 on the Archdiocese website. www.archregina.sk.ca