Parish generosity rewarded through Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal rebate

Moira Cullings

This past January, Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Mead celebrated the dedication of its brand new church building. Among the excitement surrounding the new church was also a need for funds to support the project.

That’s when the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal (ACA) rebate the parish received last year came to the rescue.

“It was put into operating expenses, which really helped us out because having just built a new church, we now have a loan that we need to pay off,” said parish pastor Father Alan Hartway.

“By using that fund in operating expenses, we were able to cover a lot of those moving costs,” he said.

The appeal rebate occurs when parishes exceed their ACA fundraising goal and receive money back, which they can use to benefit the parish.

Last year was the first time Immaculate Heart of Mary in Northglenn received the rebate since Father James Spahn has been the parish’s pastor.

“Every year I’ve been here these four years, it’s been going up and up,” said Father Spahn. “Finally, this year, we reached our goal.

“It just made me proud of my people,” he said. “The people at the parish are very generous to so many causes.”

Parishes use the rebate funds in a variety of ways.

For St. Thomas More in Centennial, the rebate they received last year was put into a general operatory fund, said pastor Msgr. Thomas Fryar. That money was likely used in several ways, including adding more cantors at church services, bringing in visiting priests to hear confessions, and helping the parish pay for new renovations.

St. Thomas More’s ability to exceed their goal of over half a million dollars was deeply inspiring to Msgr. Fryar.

“It speaks about the commitment of our community to the wider Church,” he said. “When we are aware of and reach out to the wider Church, you can’t help but have the blessings that come back upon our people.”

Like his fellow priests, Msgr. Fryar is encouraged by the generosity of his parishioners and the action they take to give back to the archdiocese.

“As a pastor, it’s nice to see the parish alive,” he said.

Father Hartway notices a similar generosity among his parishioners and explained that the ACA connects them to the entire archdiocesan family.

“They feel like there’s a bigger team with the archdiocese,” he said. “They feel that they are supported by the archdiocese. It’s not just taking money from us, it also gives it back.”

To motivate his parishioners during the ACA and beyond it, Father Andrew Kemberling, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul in Denver, emphasizes the need each person has to give.

“We have found that you have a need to give before giving to a need,” he said. “But if you lead with the idea that you’re giving to a need and you satisfy the need, then people are left with the false conclusion that you don’t need to give anymore. But you always have a need to give.”

And responding to that need to give doesn’t go unnoticed, Father Kemberling added, as portrayed in through the ACA rebate.

“God’s generosity will be rewarded back to you,” he said.

COMING UP: Why 42 had to be impeached twenty years ago

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Twenty years ago this month, I found myself seriously double-booked, so to speak.

The editing of the first volume of my John Paul II biography, Witness to Hope, was entering the ninth inning, and I was furiously engaged in exchanging edited and re-edited copy with my editors in New York. At the same time, the Clinton impeachment drama was cresting. And as I had long done speechwriting for Congressman Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I spent week after week of split time, working on John Paul II from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., then switching to impeachment for a couple of hours before returning to Witness to Hope in the evening.

It was not the optimal way to work but it had to be done, even if it seemed likely that the president would be acquitted in a Senate trial. On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives voted two articles of impeachment and senior House members, including Mr. Hyde, solemnly walked the two articles across the Capitol and presented them to the Senate’s leaders. On toward midnight, Henry Hyde called me and, referring to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, said, “We’re not going to make it. Trent won’t fight; I saw it in his eyes.” After a long moment I replied that, if we were going to lose, we had a duty to lay down a record with which history would have to reckon.

Which is what the great Henry Hyde did during the January 1999 Senate trial, where he bent every effort to prevent the proceedings from descending into farce.

For Hyde, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton was an unavoidable piece of nasty business. It was not a matter of partisan score-settling, nor was it a matter of punishing a president for gross behavior with an intern in the White House. It was a matter of defending the rule of law. As Henry put it to me when it seemed clear that the president had perjured himself and obstructed justice, “There are over a hundred people in federal prisons for these crimes. How can the chief law enforcement officer of the United States be guilty of them and stay in office?”

Impeachment is a political process and it was clear by mid-fall of 1998 that the politics were not breaking toward removing the president from office. They had been pointed that way over the summer, though. And as the pressures built, it seemed as if the Clinton presidency might end as Richard Nixon’s had: Party elders, in this case Democrats, would go to the White House, explain that it was over, and ask the president to resign for the sake of the country. Then around Labor Day that year, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and other columnists began suggesting that, if Clinton were impeached and convicted, the sexual revolution would be over, the yahoos of reaction would have won, and we’d be back to something resembling Salem, Massachusetts, during the witchcraft insanity.

That was preposterous. It was also effective. And within days, at least in Washington, you could fill the templates shifting: This wasn’t about the rule of law, it was about sex and the yahoos couldn’t be allowed to win. (That Henry Hyde was the leader of the pro-life forces in Congress neatly fit this storyline, of course, abortion being a major plank in the platform of the sexual revolution.)

So once the game was redefined — Are you for or against the puritanical yahoos? — there was little chance to wrench the political process back to what it was really about: the rule of law. In his opening speech during the president’s trial, Henry Hyde tried valiantly to refocus the argument, insisting that high office did not absolve a man from obeying his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States and his oath swearing to tell the truth to a federal grand jury. To suggest that it did was to “break the covenant of trust” between president and people, dissolving “the mortar that binds the foundation stones of our freedom into a secure and solid edifice.”

It wasn’t a winning argument. But it was the right argument. And on this 20th anniversary, the nation should remember with gratitude those like Henry Hyde who, under fierce assault, stood for the rule of law.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore | Flickr