As you are aware, I was in India a couple of weeks ago to visit my family. Originally I was supposed to do the wedding of one of my nephews but the wedding was called off. Since it was too expensive to change the dates of my travel I decided to go any way even though it was a very short trip. While I was there, besides being with my family I went to see Fr. Val and his people. You may remember that our Lenten Sacrifice was directed to the great work Fr Val is doing with the Thurumbars (The Untouchables) in South India. Our generous donation is helping to build a community center for them.
The structure is almost done. In India we build with mortar and cement, bricks and concrete. The buildings are solid and strong, and cost more. I saw with my own eyes how the shell is already completed. Now the windows and doors have to be built in, and the walls have to be plastered and painted. The plumbing and the electrical work will take a while to complete. The building will house a large hall that will be used as church on Sundays, a meeting place for people and as study hall for students. The second floor will serve as dorm for people when they cannot return home in the evening. It will house a couple of offices. We should really feel good because our gift is changing the lives of hundreds of people thousands of miles away.
I marvel at your grand hearts that are ready to lend a hand to anyone. I have witnessed your generosity over the last five-and-a-half years. It is this same spirit of generosity that inspires us to be part of the archdiocesan capital campaign, “To Teach Who Christ Is.” The last couple of months I have gone around to most of the women’s guilds to present the details of our capital campaign. I have talked about the campaign also to several other groups in the parish. Only a couple of individuals questioned me about giving 40% of our set goal of $2.4 million to the archdiocese. In this column I would like to lay out the reasons why we should give this portion.
We give to the archdiocesan campaign for several reasons. First of all, we give because we are part of a larger Church. Every now and then we are reminded that our Catholic faith calls us to be “catholic”, that is, “universal.” We need to be concerned not only about our parish here in Park Ridge but also about the Archdiocese of Chicago, of which we form a part. In the Early Church, Paul invited his Christian communities to come to the aid of needy churches elsewhere. We form one body and Christ is our Head.
Second, we give because we have been given abundantly. I hope we all realize how blessed we are. We are part of an enthusiastic, energetic, growing parish community. We have a beautiful church and great facilities. Our school and religious education program are strong. Our ministries serve many and our outreach to the poor grows every passing month. Financially we are in a healthy place and the spirit of optimism and joy seem to be prevalent. If God has blessed us this much, we cannot but bless others. As the gospels tell us, “From those to whom much is given much will be expected.”
Third, we give because we are a generous community. I have personally seen how generous you are. Every time we take up a collection for the poor or for some disaster relief, you step up big time. I remember how we collected over $40,000 when Haiti saw that catastrophic earthquake a few years ago. Your big hearts made it possible for the poor in India to have a community center. You are willing to plant seeds that will bear fruit in the distant future for people far away. By participating in the archdiocesan campaign we can once again prove that we take care of others.
Finally, we give because our gift will benefit some of our own. This campaign has already given scholarships to over 1,600 children this year to go to a Catholic school. When this educational endowment is finally established, needy children all over the diocese can benefit from scholarships. If there are students in our school who are in need, they will be eligible for assistance.
Let us recall that our Savior and Master gave Himself to enrich us. In his Letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes: “Christ Who was rich made Himself poor in order to make us rich.” We become rich in the eyes of God only by giving of ourselves to those in need.
Please keep our parish in your prayers.
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...