REGINA — “As disciples of Jesus we are called to be bearers of hope,” said Archbishop Donald Bolen as he addressed the kick-off activities for the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal Sept. 21 at Our Lady of Peace Church.
“Building up hope in our communities, communicating it to others by the way we live and by our active outreach in love,” was Bolen’s basic message of support for the appeal.
The archbishop was the last of several speakers to talk about the importance of the appeal in carrying out the various ministries in service to the people of the Archdiocese of Regina. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Hope, Born of Mercy,” which was reflected in the archbishop’s message to parish representatives who were together for the appeal kick-off.
“The appeal is a tangible way in which we can foster hope,” he said. “The many things the appeal can fund are important for us to know and to name.”
He mentioned specifically the nine seminarians who are at various stages on their journey to the priesthood. It is the largest group of archdiocesan seminarians since the early 1950s. He also spoke briefly about the diaconate and Lay Formation programs and the ecumenical activities carried out by the Ecumenical Office.
Donor Services co-ordinator Denise Walsh gave a brief overview of the 2016 campaign and thanked everyone involved at the parish level for the work they do in helping the campaign achieve its goals.
The program began with a presentation of the new video which all parishes are encouraged to show. The video features Bolen talking about his youth and the rural church of St. Elizabeth where he first heard the Word of God, and shows other individuals testifying how appeal funds helped them grow in their faith and also to minister to others through health care, youth ministry and Lay Formation.
The video was followed by presentations by director of Pastoral Services Robert Kowalchuk, ecumenical co-ordinator Nick Jesson, and financial officer Deacon Barry Wood. Last year’s campaign raised $1,280,000. Disbursements in 2016 from the 2015 campaign amounted to $1,132,220, which supported 27 ministries and community outreach programs. Thirty-two parishes reached their goal and were awarded just over $44,000 in rebates. Parishes receive rebates of 80 per cent of the funds donated over and above their goal.
The goal for this year’s campaign is $1,600,000, an increase of $200,000. Parish goals, however, will continue to be calculated at a total of $1,400,000. The archbishop said the remaining $200,000 will be raised separately.
The appeal is a yearlong campaign, and most of the money comes in after the kick-off.
A live podcast, patterned after an old-time radio show — complete with live music, jokes, adlibs, special guests and commercials — was written and produced by diocesan staff. The hosts engaged the audience to become part of the podcast, adding to the enthusiasm and humour of the presentation.
As part of the podcast, Braden Kuntz, assistant youth ministry co-ordinator, performed two praise songs accompanied with his guitar. Sister ReAnne Letourneau and members of the Aboriginal — Non Aboriginal Relations Community invited people to sing along to “Amazing Grace” in Cree and English, seminarians Parker Love and Chinh Vu answered questions about life in the seminary, and recently ordained Rev. Arpee Urquico responded to questions about the life of a new priest.
The podcast was hosted by archdiocesan theologian Brett Salkeld and Eric Gurash, co-ordinator for Lay Formation and Evangelization. The podcast was a great success and was released Oct. 3 on the archdiocesan website: www.archregina.sk.ca.