On behalf of the many men, women, and children whose lives were touched, uplifted, or transformed through the ministries funded by the Archbishop’s Appeal, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, celebrated an appreciation Mass recently for donors to thank them for their continued support and unwavering dedication.
The liturgy was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in downtown San Antonio on January 11.
The archbishop began his homily by quoting St. Augustine, who once said that the church is in the position of St. John the Baptist. “He meant by this that our role is to announce Christ, to point the way to Him, to decrease ourselves, and increase Christ,” Archbishop Gustavo explained. “We are, St. Augustine said, like the best man at the wedding. We are the primary witnesses to the Lord, but only the Lord is the bridegroom! We rejoice because He, Christ, is glorified!”
The archbishop told Appeal donors that they have glorified Christ with their lives. “Through your prayers, your participation in the life of the Church in worship and the sacraments, and through your generous love for Christ’s poorest children — you point the way to Him!” he emphasized. “And you do this without fanfare, without trumpet blasts, and even with no desire for recognition.”
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit stressed that the worshippers came together not for recognition, but to celebrate, and to say “thank you” to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. “We are part of His family. This is a family celebration today!”
He shared how over the past several years, the archdiocese has been focusing attention on the words of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, that we are called to create a culture of encounter, and then to accompany others in their needs.
“We are deeply aware that we do so from the foundation of our own humble realities. It is precisely from this place of humility that we can reach out authentically to others because we know that we share a common humanity with them,” he said. “We believe that no one is beyond redemption. We believe that every human being is made is God’s image and likeness, and thus deserves the dignity of being called a ‘child of God.’”
The San Antonio prelate repeated that this is the good news we want to proclaim everywhere.
He described to listeners how their generous support of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is helping, very directly, to change the lives of others. “Whether it is the support that goes to Catholic Charities to help people in emergencies, or the support of our prison chaplains through the Department of Pastoral Ministries, or helping to keep Catholic TV on the air so that the home bound can share in daily Mass, or the child of a family unknown to you who can attend Catholic school because they received a tuition grant that made the difference — in every one of these and dozens of other ways you are helping!” he exclaimed. “In this way, you are helping the church to be the place of encounter and the instrument of accompaniment in our world, today.”
Archbishop Gustavo concluded by recounting for donors to, “Let Christ increase, while we take the role of the best man at the wedding feast.”
Following the liturgy there was a reception in the parish hall with additional remarks concerning the importance of supporting the Archbishop’s Appeal.