One faith, one family

by Bishop Lawrence Persico

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As we approach this year's Catholic Services Appeal (CSA), I want to ensure you are aware of the enormous impact your generosity has on our diocesan family. While it's easy to talk about missions and grand ideas, I want to share some real, tangible ways your contribution to the CSA enriches lives.

Your help extends beyond merely keeping the lights on. It's about nourishing souls. Take just one of the CSA-supported Catholic Charities network agencies, St. Elizabeth Center in Venango County, for example. They're not just distributing food; they're restoring human dignity by allowing individuals to select their own groceries, as any of us would prefer.

In October 2023, the Office of Faith Formation hosted a diocesan-wide retreat as a transformative experience for our young people preparing for confirmation this year. Imagine more than 400 students coming together to worship, to learn and to be inspired by their faith. But the impact doesn’t stop there. Your contributions to the CSA fund the diocesean Office of Faith Formation and others that make events like this possible.

Collaboration of two diocesan administrative teams, the Office of Divine Worship and the Communications Department, during 2023 enabled our hosting of the relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel González García. Their presence in our diocese offered a profound spiritual experience for many, aligning perfectly with our current Eucharistic Revival. People from across our diocese were privileged to venerate these relics, seek healing and deepen their connection with the Eucharist. This offered a moment for both young and old to reflect on how we can integrate our faith into modern life, as exemplified by Blessed Carlo’s engagement with social media, and also honor timeless devotion, like St. Manuel’s love for the Eucharist.

Let us remember that the Catholic Church's reach in northwest Pennsylvania is vast and varied, extending from bustling urban centers to tranquil rural landscapes. Whether it's the energy of our larger towns or the serenity of our countryside, your contribution to the CSA funds the work of diocesan offices in every corner of our diocese.

I invite you to participate in this year's CSA, making sure this beautiful work handed on through generations continues. For it is in the act of giving that we receive, fulfilling the Gospel message to love one another as Christ loves us.