First, he speaks quite favorably about the love called eros. It's a type of love that seems to impose itself. It doesn't require great forethought. It just happens: The love of parent for their child or a young man for his beloved. They make a pledge of fidelity that seems irresistible. Their love will last forever and by comparison all other loves seems pale.
After saying good words about eros, Pope Benedict makes a second move. He observes that as powerful as eros love seems, it has a tendency to wane and even become destructive. Few people fight more fiercely than those who have fallen out of love. Pope Benedict shows that eros love needs purification by a different kind of love: agape. While eros is an ascending love - it rise from within - agape is a descending love. It come from above. As St. John tells us, "In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us." We cannot love God unless he first loves us. Ultimately we cannot love each other - in a way that lasts - unless we accept God's love. When a couple attends Mass and prays together, their marriage tends to last and flourish. Agape, the descending love, makes possible self-giving and self-sacrifice.
After explaining the two loves - eros and agape - Pope Benedict makes a third surprising move. He insists on "organized love".* I know it sounds jarring to put "love" and "organized" together. We live in a romantic age that values spontaneity. Still organization has its place. It's when individuals and families band together to effectively help others. A few weeks ago we heard how the early Christians voluntarily entrusted part of their earnings to the apostles - so they could help those in need. That tradition continues today in the Annual Catholic Appeal. The Appeal is a form of organized love. This Sunday I have asked a young family to witness to how the Appeal benefits them and how they see our rebate project: a renovated playground for our parish. Please give your full attention to Rasamy & Stanlynne Mixaphone (also see below testimony of David & Kerry Ramseyer)
*"The Church can never be exempted from practicing charity as an organized activity of believers, and on the other hand, there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love." (Deus Caritas Est #29)
What is the Annual Catholic Appeal?
The Annual Catholic Appeal funds various ministries and services throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle. Through your generous giving, our 172 parishes & missions and 74 schools help to provide A Future Full of Hope for thousands of people throughout Western Washington.
The ACA serves over 579,500 Catholics and ALL of our gifts to the ACA helps support more than 60 ministries and services:
- Pastoral care and outreach Ministries
- Catholic Faith Formation - Generations of Faith which runs from Sept to April each year which our family attends each year, mainly, for the dinner because I struggle to cook. My family eats well but the cooking part is...well, that's a different appeal
- Family and Cultural Activities
- Youth and Young Adults - United Youth Group which Noah participates in and just last Sunday received Confirmation with his peers and the Catholic Youth Convention, Vacation Bible School, and Retreats
- Catholic Schools - St. Michael's in Snohomish
- Catholic Community Services
Parishes are direct recipients of the ministries and services supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal. In addition, any money received and exceeding the parish assigned goal is returned through a rebate to our parish to used for a stated project and or as needed. Our parish's stated project is the renovation of the parish playground.
I'm excited because this renovation would mean new, updated and safer playground equipment which is much needed because two Sunday evenings ago when we were celebrating a few Confirmandi in the parish hall; my husband and I were watching our daughter's and a few of the other parish children playing in the playground, we were rather concerned about the safety of the current equipment in the playground because the current tire swing, actually, swings into the support board that runs, horizontally, across the middle of the side support beams of the regular swings, thankfully, no one was hurt. Also, new bark or other safe playground surface and expanding the current size of the playground.
Let's help our parish bring this updated and renovated playground to fruition through the Annual Catholic Appeal, there are a variety of ways to pledge:
One time donation, Monthly donations, online donations, Electronic Fund Transfer(EFT) from checking/savings account, debit card or credit card.
If you are unable to give in any of the ways, I just mentioned...Please give by PRAYING! I want to mention this because there are those who are just unable to at this time, and that's okay...Prayers are very valuable and much needed through the entire ACA campaign. Another suggestion is giving during the current campaign when you can, for 2017, our family gave at the end of the campaign. This year, We have pledged to give in November which is the month of Thanksgiving and a few other special celebrations in our family.
In closing, Thank you to ALL who have already made a pledge. Thank you, in advance, to ALL those who are still assessing and considering their current giving and to ALL those who are giving to the ACA a gift a prayer.
Fr. Bloom and and the St. Mary of the Valley Ohana welcomes and encourages all young families, just like ours. Thank you Fr. Bloom for asking us to share and to each of you for your attention.
My name is David Ramseyer. I've been a parishioner at St Mary of the valley for three years along with my Wife Kerry and my five children. We have enjoyed the sense of commmunity and belonging provided by the parish and the many opportunities to interact with fellow parishioners and involve my family in my parish community.
I've have also been a teacher for past 12 years and education is very important part of my life. But outside of my career, educating my children in the ways of the faith is also something that is a family value that we share. As part of this value, it is important to my wife and I to let our children see us being active participants and involved in our Catholic faith life. Which means interacting with our local church community, but also participating in the broader mission of the Global Catholic church which, for us, means participating in the Annual Catholic Appeal.
The Annual Catholic Appeal does something for our larger Church community that we cannot do ourselves. Provide tangible supports for people in need, services for Catholics and non-catholics alike, and an opportunity for our children to see that they are part of a wider Church community. Locally the annual Catholic appeal also provides our community here at St Mary of the Valley by helping us achieve our own Parish goals which are assisted with the use of rebate funds from the appeal. This year, one thing that our family is excited about is the opportunity for the annual Catholic appeal rebate to renovate our Parish playground and provide us additional opportunities to interact with local families in our Parish Community.
The annual Catholic appeal provides a variety of ways to give. We choose to do automatic electronic withdrawals, because in our busy lives, it makes it easy not to accidentally forget a payment because for some reason, five children seem to to make it challenging to remember what we need to do 5 minutes from now let alone at the end of the month. There are many ways to give, such as the electronic fund transfer through your bank or credit card the service that our family uses, donating in one time payments or through monthly donations, and the ability to donate online.
For my family the Catholic appeal provides a tangible example of following in Jesus's Ministry of service, and that my duty as a Catholic Christian extends beyond what is immediately around me. The Annual Catholic Appeal allows me to provide service to a much broader Catholic community that I do not have the ability to personally interact with on a direct basis, and provides for my children a concrete message that being a Catholic is more than going to church once a week; it's being an active involved member in my community, which encompasses the whole body of the church.
Thank you and God bless you all.