St. Augustine Catholic
The Long Goodbye
Hope After Abortion
Katie's Gift of Life
in this issue... 
saint of the month
editor's notes
bishop's message
from the archives
in the know with Fr. Joe
work life
theology 101
your marriage matters
the parenting journey
spiritual fitness
parish profile
around the diocese
catholic news from around the world
calendar of events
2005 diocesan financial report
from the bishop

The Lenten Appeal
helping others through our sacrifices

Dear Friends in the Lord,

Lent is the season when the Church invites us to join Our Lord more intimately in a spirit of penance. This penance traditionally takes one of three forms: as it relates to oneself (fasting), to God (prayer), or to others (almsgiving). In this month’s message I’d like to focus our attention on almsgiving, that is, helping others through our sacrifices.

You may recall that since becoming bishop of Saint Augustine, I’ve had to ask for your help to support our seminarians studying for the priesthood and for the long-term care of some of our priests. This appeal was conducted through the postal service in the springtime of every year – except for last year. Last year’s financial status of these funds was so positive that no appeal was necessary.

Ten of the eleven seminarians of our diocese joined Bishop Victor Galeone Dec. 19 to celebrate the Christmas season. Pictured are (top row, from left): Steve Zehler, Ryan Della Crosse, Andy Blaszkowski, Bernard Fussell, Slawomir Bielasiewicz, Rob Trujillo. (Bottom row, from left): Lam Nguyen, Wil Stead, Denis O’Shaughnessy and Dan Nelson. Not pictured: David Ruchinski.
As more of our clergy near retirement, many will require long-term health care. Last year Bishop Galeone and retired Bishop John J. Snyder joined three priests of the diocese as they celebrated 25 and 50 years of priestly ministry. From left, Bishop Snyder, Father Frank Sprecace, Holy Ghost Father Noel Cox and Carmelite Father Sebastian Kaithamattom.

This year, however, the situation is different. On page 31 you will find our annual financial report for fiscal year July ‘04 to June ‘05. I invite you to study it carefully. You will notice a sizable deficit, caused mostly by the shortfall generated by the hurricanes that battered our state. In her introductory letter to the annual report, our finance director, Cathy Macina has explained why our diocese, even though we suffered little damage from the hurricanes, incurred the liability that caused most of our deficit.

Accordingly, I would like to invite everyone to give serious thought to support our Lenten Appeal. In doing so, you will be helping to defray the costs involved in the formation of our future priests as well as the long-term care of our priests. I am well aware that some of you are already sharing your abundance during Lent with those in need, for example through Operation Rice Bowl. I ask you to support this appeal as well, if possible. For those who are not in the habit of giving alms during Lent, this appeal is an ideal way to join your sacrifices with what Jesus suffered for us on the cross. As St. Paul wrote to the Colossians (1:24): “I rejoice in what I am suffering for you; for I make up in my own body what Christ still has to suffer for the sake of his body, the Church.”

Inserted between pages eight and nine, you will find an envelope with a scale of suggested contributions, prorated according to one’s income. The suggestions are just that – suggestions. Some of you may be able to give more, others less, and still others can contribute prayers alone. However, if you do intend to help with the appeal, please detach the envelope now and place it near your checkbook. Then after some reflection and consultation with your spouse, if such is the case, decide on your contribution and mail it in the envelope.

Finally, I wish to remind everyone that the Lord is never outdone in generosity. Thank you for joining the Lenten Appeal this year! You are all in my prayers.

Gratefully yours in Our Lord,

Bishop of St. Augustine