Message from Cardinal George
2013 ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL
Love Never Fails – 1 Corinthians 13:8
Any funds raised are carefully spent; it is money for God’s work and we use it accordingly. Your contributions are deeply appreciated, very much needed and make a real difference in the lives of many.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When we are at Mass, we participate in the miraculous change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This is a change for which we thank God with all our hearts. But we’ve all experienced other changes, changes that bring deterioration. After a while, machines don’t work well or stop working altogether. A job that we thought would be a stable source of security can easily vanish. Even our very own bodies don’t last forever. They age and carry the burdens of illness, and eventually deteriorate in death.
In this transitory and impermanent world, faith tells us that something lasts forever. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul sings a great hymn of praise to charity or love. He proclaims, “Love never fails!” Love is the very life of God. The first letter of Saint John says, “God is love.” Since genuine love is of God, it cannot fail.
That unfailing love comes to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That unfailing love by the power of the Holy Spirit forms us as the Church, a communion of love. We are in relationship to each other, and we love or ought to love one another. We are the effective sign of God’s love in the world, even when we offer a challenging and not always welcome word. We cannot stop being God’s love in this world without losing our very identity as the Body of Christ and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Our words and our lives should proclaim:
love never fails, God’s love endures forever.
How exactly do we share the enduring and encouraging word, Love never fails? It certainly begins in our families and radiates outwards into our workplaces, our schools, our communities, and our nation and world as we try to be faithful to Christ in all circumstances. Our expression of enduring love, love that never fails, takes special shape in and through the works of our Archdiocese. This year’s Annual Catholic Appeal takes up this theme—Love never fails. The works of the Archdiocese supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal express and foster the love that binds us together through our faith in Jesus Christ and the working of his Holy Spirit among us.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Annual Catholic Appeal sustains Catholic schools, parishes, programs of religious education and ministerial formation, initiatives to foster respect for life and make the world more just, peaceful, and loving. As our Archdiocesan pastoral plan,
Reflecting Christ’s Light, unfolds across its second year, the Year of Sunday Mass, the Annual Catholic Appeal supports efforts to pass on the treasures of faith to a new generation of believers and to make Sunday Mass the center of our lives in faith. Beyond the Archdiocese, through its support of the Church’s universal charities, the Appeal lovingly serves people in need worldwide, without regard for religious affiliation, those whose lives are devastated by illness, wars and famines, and by natural disasters. Every element of our mission, every one of our efforts reflects our life encapsulated in God’s enduring love. Love never fails.
When you celebrate the Eucharist, you encounter the living Christ who, in enduring love, died and rose for us: this is my body given up for you, this is my blood poured out for you. Here, we learn and we know that
love never fails. Here, we learn and know who we are: instruments of God’s unfailing love in the world. Here, we recognize again that everything passes away except the relationships created by love.
In love, be generous as Christ has been generous. Please join me in making a generous gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal.
Your faith and your generosity inspire me. I am grateful for your witness. I thank God for you and I pray to God for you. Please pray for me.
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago