Dear Friends in Christ,
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus proclaims: “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt. 5:13). Many have reflected on the meaning of this Scripture passage including Pope Francis, who said, “God gave each person faith, gifts and talents so that they would share them with others and bring the taste of the Gospel to the world. [Christians must] go out with the message, go out with the riches of salt that we have received and give it to others.” In other words, you and I can see how our own contributions of time, talent and treasure can help the parishes of our diocese to flourish and in turn flavor the time and place in which we find ourselves.
As I enter my third year as the Bishop of Syracuse, I have seen this return firsthand through your generous response to the HOPE Appeal in 2020-21 and the various ministries and services it has supported. Particularly important in the midst of the global pandemic have been the services Catholic Charities provides for the seven counties which comprise the Diocese of Syracuse.
Equally important have been the enormous efforts of our Catholic schools to continue to educate in person during COVID-19, the spiritual care provided through the good works of our hospital chaplains, and the live-streaming of Mass and other religious services, along with other faith formation opportunities, through Catholic Television and other media platforms. These and many more successes have been made possible by the incredible generosity of the faithful of this portion of the Lord’s vineyard.
In the past, the HOPE Appeal campaign has been launched in the Spring. However, after our experience of a Fall campaign last year and its incredible success and from feedback received, it has been decided to move the HOPE Appeal to the Fall of the year on a permanent basis. In part, it concentrates the campaign to a three-month period while avoiding the overlapping of the appeal between fiscal years.
As we prepare to kick off HOPE Appeal 2021, we will take for our theme the words we have been reflecting on, “You are the salt of the earth,” and allow them to bring to mind the difference between something that is “flavorful or flavorless.” We know the contrast between the two and how can you and I forget that the loss of taste was an indicator of disease!
With this in mind, I invite you to help our diocesan Church in spreading the flavor of the Gospel and in continuing Jesus’ healing and saving mission through your generosity to this year’s campaign.
Again, I am so grateful for your past kindness in helping to serve God’s flock in Central New York, spanning from the Mohawk River Valley to Salmon Country to the Southern Tier. I know also that it is only with your help that our mission to be “salt” does not lose its flavor. So I ask for your prayers and financial assistance in meeting this year’s campaign goal of $4.15 million. I wish to assure you it will go directly to its intended purposes of providing services to the people and parishes of the Diocese of Syracuse.
Let us hold one another in prayer and pray that God may continue “to give success to the work of our hands” (Ps. 90:17).
In the name of Jesus,
Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia