Bishop Ricken’s Compass Article

Imagine being a middle-aged homeless woman with a teenage son not knowing if you and your child will have a safe place to spend the night, if you will have food to eat or clean clothes to wear.  Imagine feeling hopeless, defeated and all alone.  Through the many social service programs at Catholic Charities along with local community resources families just like this woman’s are helped every day.  One by one the counselors at Catholic Charities help people find hope and rebuild their lives.  They are the face and hands of Christ working in our communities to help heal hurting families.

Each one of us brings an incredible story of faith to the Church that we are today.  God is good.  He has blessed our Diocese in so many ways.  As God has given us so many wonderful gifts, now is the time to lead more people to discover, follow, worship and share Jesus.  Over the past several years, I have been working with a team of people to help me determine the needs of our parishes and the Diocese.  As a result, I am excited to share with you I have decided to launch the one by One campaign.

Just as Jesus reached out one by one embracing people’s hearts and forming disciples, we will do the same through the one by One campaign.  Think about the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well.  He could have easily judged her like the others but He didn’t.  He met her where she was at in life and listened to her story.  Because Jesus did this her life was transformed and she went on to lead others to follow Him.  God is good!

Through the one by One campaign you will be given the opportunity to transform our parishes and communities.  This very important campaign will ensure the future of our parishes, enhance Catholic education, broaden social services and living justice ministries, care for our seminarians and help each of our parishes address critical needs.

All 157 parishes in our Diocese are places where we renew our faith as missionary disciples who trust in the truth and joy of the Gospel.  Every parish brings hope, peace and salvation to its community.  For our youth, the voice of Christ and the message of the Gospel are woven into our parish Faith Formation programs and Catholic schools.  They become devoted Catholics who are inspired to attend Mass, pursue holy vocations to ordained service, create faithful marriages and households of discipleship.

We are molded into a community of faith by those men who are called to the ordained service.  From the youngest who are just beginning their faith journey to our retired clergy who require extended care, the campaign will support and foster every person’s exploration at every age.  With your support of the campaign, we will have greater opportunities to be present in places where people who are considering a vocation live, study and pray.

Our mission to effectively proclaim the Good News must be informed by the need to grow in knowledge and understanding of all God’s people.  The message has not changed in more than 2000 years but the way we share it must.  Through creating evangelization resources, courses and discipleship seminars for online and digital interaction, we will share Jesus with more people.  By enhancing outreach to our Hispanic, Latino and multi-cultural brothers and sisters we will continue to form more disciples.  The one by One campaign will empower each of us to transform our communities as we share the healing, teaching and loving presence of Jesus.

As we seek to lead more people to Jesus, the one by One campaign will reinvigorate the Church’s mission to serve our communities.  Catholic Charities lives out this mission by serving families and individuals who are struggling most in life in our communities.  They address gaps in service and respond to those among us that others will not serve.  Through your support of the campaign Catholic Charities will provide additional alcohol and drug abuse counselors and expand social services in more communities. To address homelessness in our Diocese we will support through grants service providers who help people who are homeless across northeastern Wisconsin.  Imagine communities where a mother does not have to worry about where she and her child are going to sleep or if they will have food to eat.

A fruitful campaign will not only provide immediate programming but will also continue to build our Church for the next 150 years and beyond.  As St. Mother Teresa shared, “Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”  Please join me in praying for the success of the one by One campaign. I also ask you to prayerfully consider making a sacrificial gift when you are contacted by your parish.  Now is your opportunity with a grateful heart to return to God what He has so generously given to you.  With your support of the one by One campaign even more souls will come to know the joy of Jesus in their hearts.  God is always good!


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