Our Catholic Appeal is an annual opportunity for every Catholic to share in the pastoral work of Christ by funding the important programs and ministries of the Diocese of Orlando. This critical operating support enables the Diocese to provide our people, parishes and schools with a wide variety of essential services that change lives –and souls. Below are some of the people whose lives have affected by your generous support. Our Catholic Appeal weekend is Feb. 14-15 at all Diocese of Orlando parishes.
Airport Ministry helps Faith take Flight
In the midst of the fast-paced Orlando International Airport, La Salette Missionary Father Robert Susann, provides a moment of peace and blesses a family from Puerto Rico before their departure. In the bustling airport he has only a short time with the travelers he meets each day, but as the only airport chaplain for the past eleven years Father Susann knows the value of a moment.
“Airport ministry is a ministry of presence,” he explained. “I bring Christ to the people whether its 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or just 15 seconds. People see the collar and know that Christ is with them.”
Part of the tourism ministry of the Diocese and supported by Our Catholic Appeal, the airport ministry brings the Good News of Jesus Christ to Central Florida’s visitors. Walking through the terminals that see 38 million people each year, Father Susann shares Christ’s peace with people of all faiths traveling for a variety of reasons and with wide-ranging emotions. In addition to celebrating two Sunday Masses in the airport chapel, he daily offers prayers, blessings, the Sacrament of Penance, a kind smile, and calming words.
“Christ welcomed everyone. It’s an important ministry for the Church because the Church goes where the people are. The Church is made to bring Christ,” he added.
Schools Plants Seeds of Faith
In a room full of energetic seventh graders, Dominican Sister of Adrian, Michigan Rosemary Finnegan brings to life the teachings of the Catholic Church. As a member of the Dominican order, she knows the importance of education in spreading the Catholic faith. As religion teacher at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School, Winter Park, she sees her students live what they’ve learned every day.
“The value of Catholic education is the values that are instilled from an early age,” said Sister Finnegan. “We are committed to not only the academic life of the child but also their moral, spiritual, and overall growth.”
Gifts made to Our Catholic Appeal ensure that Catholic education and formation are available to as many children as possible. Funds raised contribute to tuition assistance and scholarships, as well as professional development training for teachers at both the schools and parish religious education programs. Operating costs, accreditation, strategic planning, and technology enhancements are also supported by Our Catholic Appeal, allowing our children to receive a quality education in a faith filled environment.
“When you support Our Catholic Appeal, you are supporting the faith of the future generation. You are contributing to a legacy,” added Sister Finnegan.
Vocations bring forth Gifts of Priesthood
In her eight years with the Diocese of Orlando Vocations Office, Sister of St. Joseph of St. Augustine Kathleen Power has helped eighty-seven seminarians on their journey to the priesthood and now has the privilege of seeing eight of those men currently serve the people of God as priests in Central Florida.
As the Assistant Director of Vocations, Sister Power guides our seminarians every step of the way from their initial discernment to the day of their ordination. She is a witness to their love and joy for Jesus Christ and the people of God.
“The best part is to see a young man go out in a parish and to hear from his parishioners how much they love him. To see his gifts being received so well – that is the greatest joy,” she said.
Arriving at that point is a nine year process for young men and includes intense discernment, prayer, education, and spiritual growth guided by the Vocations Office staff and two regional seminaries. Tuition assistance available through gifts to Our Catholic Appeal make this time of formation possible.
“It is only when the Catholic people are able to support these young men financially and spiritually with prayer that they can become our priests – and we need them as our priests,” Sister Power added.