MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATION OF CATHOLIC FUNDRAISING AT ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2011 AT 7PM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Together with many friends I welcome you to this Mass of Thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Fundraising.
Over 50 years the dedicated staff of Catholic Fundraising, the priests and people of our parishes, and so many people have become involved in a magnificent collaborative effort to provide the Church with resources for worship, teaching and service, which are essential to the proclamation of the Gospel.
With humble thankfulness for God’s gifts of people, though unworthy, we come to praise him who is the Giver of every gift in this moment when we realise how much he has given.
As we call to mind our sins let us ask the Lord that he may make us increasingly generous of spirit, filled with wonder at what he can achieve through open hearts.
“Ask and it will be given to you. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be open to you. For the one who asks always receives, the one who searches always finds.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today with the current Director, Michael Keogh, the staff, and so many friends, we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Fundraising. While Saint Matthew is speaking about effective prayer and the abundant goodness of God, our Fundraising Service for all these years has helped us to reflect on the true meaning of Christian giving. In the same way that we can ask God, who is the Giver of all good gifts, to help us in our family life and the work of the Church, so too our Fundraising Service helps us to place before people the needs of the Church in preaching the Gospel.
Indeed, Saint Paul says at the beginning of chapter sixteen of 1 Corinthians: “Every Sunday each one of you must put aside what he can afford so that collections need not be made after I have come. When I am with you I will send your offering to Jerusalem.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-3)
The spirit of giving for the needs of the Church; local, diocesan and international has thus existed from the earliest times and has been planned - i.e. put aside, considered – a set amount, proportionate – as we can afford, and cheerful – because God loves the cheerful giver.
In 1961 Archbishop Mannix coined the phrase ‘sacrificial giving’, which reflected completely our unity with the Mass. We believe that Christ made the perfect sacrifice in his passion, death and resurrection. His giving was total and it was effective. Our sacrificial giving was similarly a gift of ourselves, even with some challenge, to be likewise effective in supporting the work that Jesus came to do, that all may be baptised and come to the knowledge of the truth.
Later on the name changed to ‘thanksgiving’ because the Mass is the perfect sacrifice of praise with which we are associated as we bring our lives to the Father. Everything we have and are comes from a loving God and our generosity helps us to return it in thanksgiving.
About this time we asked Catholics not only to review their financial support for the parish and the Church, but also to look at commitment of time and talent. Everything we have is a gift from a loving God.
Still further the important realisation of Christian stewardship has developed over the last couple of years. As Christian stewards we are custodians and not owners. Everything is given us by God and our sacred duty is to improve on our inherited legacy so that we can pass it on to future generations. The faith given in Baptism is a personal gift to be used by word and example in drawing others to the Gospel. By using our God-given gifts of time, talent and treasure we can make a great difference. Those three related conc