The secular spectacle of the holiday season is often a distraction for Catholics who want to focus on the real reason for the season — our Lord’s birth.
This year has provided even more distractions with worries about the pandemic, the election, the economy, and social unrest. The events of 2020 put us back on our heels — and often on our knees in prayer.
Our faith has taught us to trust our Lord as God’s promise remains unchanged since the days of Abraham.
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will name Him Immanuel” (Is 7:14).
As you reflect on this year, you may be inspired to celebrate Christ’s birth with a gift to His Church. There are many ways you can share the prosperity the Lord has bestowed upon you with the ministries and charities around the Archdiocese of Denver.
The Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal supports over 40 ministries that work each day to extend God’s promise to his believers. We also have our seminaries, the Prophet Elijah House priest’s retirement home, Annunciation Heights summer camp, Seeds of Hope scholarship fund and Centro San Juan Diego for Hispanic outreach.
Here are some questions I often receive from people contemplating a donation to the archdiocese.
Q. How do I decide where to give?
A. Ask God to guide you in your giving and seek his assistance in setting your priorities. Visit websites to see which charitable causes touch your heart. You can read about the Archdiocese of Denver’s 40 ministries in the Denver Catholic and on the webpage: impact.archden.org/stories. If you want more children to receive a Catholic Education – support Seeds of Hope. If you are concerned about the formation of our priests – support the Seminaries Appeal. What other Archdiocese of Denver ministries inspire you?
Q. How do I determine how much to give?
A. Think about sacrificial giving and have a budget. Your Christmas giving plan can be similar to your budget for your Christmas shopping for family and friends. Make a list. Reflect on a favorite Bible passage or on what matters most to your family as you reflect on your list.
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least of brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40).
Q. The more I give, the more I get to deduct on my taxes, right?
A. Yes! This year, the CARES Act added more benefits for your tax deductions when you make a charitable donation. There are also special deductions like the Child Care Tax Credit available for gifts to Annunciation Heights that afford additional tax advantages. You can also give directly from your 401(k) and if you are over 70 and a half years of age, you can make a qualified tax-free distribution from your IRA up to $100,000. Check with your financial advisor about end-of-year donations and the financial benefits of philanthropy, but God reminds us our ultimate reward is not of this world.
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father” (Mt 6:1).
Q. Does the Archdiocese offer information to help me plan a donation?
A. If you’d like to discuss a transformational gift to any archdiocese ministry please call me at 720-476-7525. To make a Christmas gift to the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal, visit archden.org/givenow. You can also discuss the tax benefits of a donor-advised fund or to establish a planned gift by contacting Deacon Steve Stemper at The Catholic Foundation at 303-468-9885 or visit thecatholicfoundation.com.
Q. How do I get others to give too?
A. A charitable spirit doesn’t always mean just a gift of money. Share your joy of Christ’s birth in your messages to your neighbors and friends. Be a bright light in your family and those you love will be reminded of Jesus Christ’s light in their lives. God guided you to give for the right reasons and that will inspire others to do the same.