by Lesle Knop
For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given. How have you, as a member of our Catholic family, shown your gratitude for this precious gift of God’s son to the world?
You show your appreciation as you serve almost 85,000 people through the various programs and services of Catholic Charities and when you give thousands of people opportunities to learn about their Catholic Church.
You lead hundreds of young couples to learn about the sanctity of marriage as they prepare for their weddings. Nearly 16,000 children are enrolled in Catholic schools. El Centro serves almost 20,000 individuals. Almost 8,000 young people explore at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg. More than 3,000 college kids are strengthened in their faith at our campus ministries. Villa St. Francis in Olathe cares for about 150 men and women. Eighteen seminarians prepare to serve our archdiocese as priests. Twenty deacons are in formation.
You show your heartfelt thanks for the gift of Christ’s birth every day by bringing God’s love to others by feeding and clothing the poor. You comfort the bereaved. You care for the suffering. You lead others to Christ.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “I haven’t done any of this.”
Well, yes, you have, by your selfless gifts to A Future Full of Hope, to the Archbishop’s Call to Share, to your parish, school, and to Catholic Charities, our campus ministries, Prairie Star Ranch, For Kids and Christ, El Centro, the vocations office, and the many other worthy appeals for organizations that sustain and advance our Catholic Church in northeast Kansas.
Your gifts are a tangible expression of your faith. Your stewardship extends your sense of what it means to be Catholic beyond your parish and helps to spread the good news of Christ throughout our towns, schools, and workplaces.
We are a family at Christmas and throughout the year. We are members of a glorious partnership called the Catholic Church whose mission is the Lord’s work.
I am reminded of this daily at the chancery where the Angelus, usually led by the archbishop, is preceded by petitions for God’s care for those less fortunate, our soldiers, those traveling or the homebound. Our prayers for loved ones draw us close together as a working family.
With my parish family, we dismiss little angels dressed in white with gold tinsel haloes for “Children’s Church.” They remind me of my own children when they were that rambunctious . . . and of the excitement of our first Knop grandbaby due in the spring.
At home, candles glow on our Advent wreath, awakening a remembrance of those who are gone, and a grateful and joyful heart. Thank you for sharing your gifts with our church and our community.
Lesle Knop is the executive director of stewardship and development. You can e-mail Lesle at: firstname.lastname@example.org.