By Kelly Halaszyn
Special to The Texas Catholic
The Diocese of Dallas is truly an incredible and faithful Catholic community, full of volunteers, teachers, diocesan and parish ministry staff members, and clergy serving our diocese every day. We are blessed in the Diocese of Dallas and you will often hear Bishop Burns share that as the Diocese continues to grow so does the urgency in raising funds so that we can keep pace with our responsibilities.
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries is one such source as it funds a number of ministries including Seminarian Formation; Priests, Deacons, and Religious Life; Community Outreach; Pastoral Ministries; Catholic Education; and Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries. This essential diocesan collection invests in the shared ministries of the Diocese of Dallas to advance the apostolic mission of the Church in North Texas.
I rejoice and give thanks to the more than 19,500 donors who participated in the 2022 Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries. Your prayerful and financial support and investment in the Diocese of Dallas totaled more than $8 million in 2022 and provided funding to meet the growing needs of our Diocese.
This weekend is Commitment Weekend for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. You may hear your priest preach about stewardship and invite you to respond generously. As you consider that invitation, allow me to offer a word of thanks to him and for the benefactors and formators that prepared him.
In the sacrament of Holy Orders, by which bishops and priests are ordained for service in the Church, we see an essential part of God’s splendid answer to our prayers for workers in this harvest. Giving praise and thanks to God, the Church confesses that the ministerial priesthood is nothing less than Christ’s gift to us, his priestly people.
Our priests and our seminarians preparing for the priesthood are an invaluable gift from our Lord, but they need all our prayers and support during the many years of discernment and formation. Did you know that the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries does just that with 30% of the budget (equal to over $2 million) allocated to Seminarian Formation? In fact, we are blessed in the Diocese of Dallas with Holy Trinity Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Seminary where more than 60 men are discerning and preparing for the priesthood. In 2023 we have eight men being presented for ordination to the priesthood and God-willing will be serving our parish communities beginning July 1 as newly ordained priests. What a gift!
As a priestly people, we rejoice in these men answering the Lord’s call and give thanks for the over 190 priests in the Diocese of Dallas. To help serve them, an additional 14% (or nearly $1 million) of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal is allocated towards clergy assistance, priestly retirement, and diaconal formation. Providing for the clergy is essential and it must involve the entire diocesan community as it is a shared responsibility as the local church.
With nearly half of the funds raised allocated for our clergy, I hope you understand the important role that this collection plays in the sustainability of our faith in the Diocese of Dallas. I invite you to prayerfully consider your level of participation in the 2023 Bishop’s Annual Appeal to continue to better serve our growing Diocese.
On behalf of Bishop Burns, all the priests in our diocese, and the thousands of children, women and men whose lives are better because of donors like you — THANK YOU!
Kelly Halaszyn is the Director of Development for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.