January 15, 2016
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The Church has great needs around the world, and the United States is no exception. Many dioceses here at home face challenges due to priest shortages, lack of funds, remote geography, or impoverished parishes. The Catholic Home Missions Appeal supports dioceses in the United States and its territories that lack the resources to provide basic pastoral ministry to their populations. Through annual grants, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal supports evangelization, catechesis, ministry formation, and other areas of faith development and pastoral programs in needy dioceses. Forty-two percent of all dioceses in the United States receive Catholic Home Missions support. As a result of the generosity of parishioners like you, this appeal impacts the lives of nearly 9 million Catholics.
In the Pacific Ocean, between Guam and Hawaii, are the Marshall Islands, a collection of atolls and islands covering an area of 500,000 square miles. Given the great distance between these islands, travel is often difficult and communication is unreliable. The islands themselves do not have any local priests and have only one local permanent deacon and sister; and so, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart provide for the pastoral and sacramental needs of the Islands. Additionally, many people move to the United States after high school, making it hard for the Catholic Church there to find men interested in joining the priesthood. Against those odds, the Marshall Islands welcomed with great joy a seminarian in 2014! Thanks to a grant from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, they are able to afford to send him to seminary for his studies. Through his studies, he is a witness and example to other young men on the Islands.
With your support, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal can continue to provide catechesis, lay leadership training, funding for seminarian education, and other essential pastoral outreach in home mission dioceses. I encourage you to be generous in the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, which will be collected at Masses on the weekend of January 24 to help strengthen the Church at home. Your support will truly make a difference. For more information about the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, please visit www.usccb.org and search for “home missions.”
With every prayerful best wish, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester