The following story appeared in the February 25 Idaho Catholic Register.
By Margaret Hampton
Development Director for the Diocese of Boise
The Lord calls each of us by name and accompanies us. In his Word, He assures us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The theme of the 2022 Idaho Catholic Appeal is Moving Forward in Christ. This theme reminds us to allow the love of God to compel us to keep going forward, rather than dwelling on past relationships, past disappointments, or past sin. Instead, we move forward by remembering that God has a plan for each of us.
The pandemic may have forced the cancellation of many events over the last couple of years, but hope can never be cancelled!
“The stop that the pandemic caused made us – made me – certainly appreciate the little things,” said Father Jerry Funke, pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Weiser. Father Funke said he has heard others make the same observation.
God calls for us to become a new creation in Him. We can never fully become who God wants us to be without leaving the old behind and moving into His plan for us.
Our ministries that are funded by the Idaho Catholic Appeal help us on our faith journey to move forward into God’s plan for us.
“What I really noticed when the Church reopened was the joy of people, the happiness of being able to get back to the sacraments, and to the Mass,” said Father Paul Wander,
pastor at Tri-Parish Community, which includes St. Mary’s in Cottonwood, Assumption in
Ferdinand, and St. Anthony in Greencreek.
Father Germán Osorio, pastor of Our Lady of the Good Counsel in Mountain Home, recalls how “happy and thankful” people were to be able to come back to Mass as the pandemic eased. “I saw how hungry they were to come back to the Church and to celebrate the sacraments and celebrate the Holy Mass, the Eucharist, and that brings me hope!” Father Osorio reminds us, “You’re never alone. Whatever is happening in your life, God is there.”
When you support this annual Lenten appeal, you are furthering the mission of the Idaho Church by helping to fund and thus make available more than 20 programs and services to our parishes and schools – programs and services that impact more than 200,000 Catholics! (See more about those programs on pages 8, 9 and 10 of this issue.)
Trials teach us that meaning can come from suffering, light from darkness, and life from death.
Hard times do test our faith, but they also teach us perseverance, gratitude and humility. They teach us the Way of the Cross.
It has certainly been a difficult time in most people’s lives. Despite all the unknowns, we still know our mission as faithful Catholics is to keep Moving Forward in Christ, helping each other grow in faith, service, and love.
The most powerful thing we can do with our faith is to share it with others. Unlike something material, when we share our faith, it never lessons or diminishes – it grows!
“Forward into the future has to be hope: hope that things are going to get better; hope in our world. And that hope has to come from the virtue of love. In the Eucharist, we receive all of God,” Father Wander said.
Father Funke added, “We have not only survived, but maybe we’ve gotten stronger.”
With our focus on this theme of Moving Forward in Christ, we invite you to take part in this year’s Idaho Catholic Appeal by praying for our community, participating in the celebration of the Eucharist at Mass, and offering your financial support.
You can go to catholicidaho.org/ica to learn more and to pledge your support. Thank you!
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