Throughout the Easter season, beginning with the Paschal Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, our scripture readings have been what I would like to entitle “invitations to intimacy.”

Jesus washing the feet of his disciples – an incredible gesture of love and service.

Jesus’ crucifixion and his cry, “I thirst,” not merely for water but for our souls, each and every one of us.

In her grief, Jesus calling Mary Magdalen by name and her immediate recognition of the risen Lord.

Jesus walking into the locked room and saying over and over again, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus’ invitation to Thomas, “Touch me.” Thomas’ response, “My Lord and my God.”

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will lay down his life for us, lay it down totally, holding nothing back because he loves us.

Jesus is the vine and we the branches who are totally dependent on him for sustenance and life. Jesus longs that we bear good fruit, fruit that would last.

Each week we have been given an invitation to intimacy that calls us to our deepest identity as a beloved son or daughter of God.

If only we can somehow grasp this awesome reality, embrace it and be embraced by it, our lives would be daily transformed similar but not maybe as dramatic as was Saul’s life, who became the great Apostle to the Gentiles.

As branches on the vine of Jesus who gives us life, let us model him and love not in word or speech alone but in deed and truth.

Once again we are invited into intimacy with Jesus through our sacrificing for others through our financial commitment to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Each year at this time, the Archbishop asks our support for the 60 plus ministries of the Archdiocese that benefits us all and enables us to do together what we can’t do alone as single parishes.

In alignment with our Strategic Plan for 2026, we decided to do something different. Mindful of the present and looking to the future, we’ve asked a young person of the parish to share his testimony of faith as an “invitation to intimacy” with the Lord through our loving in deed and truth.

I’ll let Ryan introduce himself to you.

(Ryan Hart’s testimony)

Thanks Ryan! What a gift to us. I could never have done what he just did when I was 14.

Please pick up one of these ACA envelopes and hold it up. Just want to make sure everyone has one.

On the outside flap is the theme as Ryan told us: A Future Full of Hope.

On the inside flap is a number of the programs, ministries and people what are assisted through the Appeal.

Our portion this year is $299,423, with a stretch goal of $50,000 rebate which we hope to receive once we reach our Archdiocesan Goal.

$10,000 of this rebate will be used for the work of St. Vincent de Paul, $20,000 for new Youth Ministry initiatives such as scholarships for YMP for our middle school youth, mission trips to Juarez and Haiti for our high school youth and Young Adult ministries. The last $20,000 would go toward the renovations.

Before we make a commitment, I ask someone from each household to fill your information on the envelope. Please do this even if you are giving online through the parish or directly to the Archdiocese. This helps us with our own financial records. (Pause and fill out an envelope.)

You can give by check, cask, credit or debit card or EFT. I use my credit card so that I can spread out my payments and give more. Your company may offer a matching grant.

If you gave last year or in years past, thank you. If you could take a step in your giving this year as Ryan asked, that would be a big help.

I hope that you received letters both from the Archbishop and myself concerning your stewardship gift to the ACA.

Let us now fill in our pledge amount. (Fill it in.)

If you had never given to the ACA, I would ask that you consider $1 a day or match the average gift to the ACA of $385. Whatever you choose to give, please do so with a grateful and generous heart. Thank you.

Please place your envelope in the offertory basket with your regular offering.

On behalf of Archbishop Sartain, Bishops Elizando and Muggenborg Fr. Cody and Ryan Hart, thank you for your generosity.