Published December 14, 2006
The Kenedy Directory (and yes, that is how this Kenedy name is spelled) is the authoritative handbook of facts and information regarding the Catholic Church in the United States. It is issued each year and contains a statistical account of each diocese, parish, priest, religious, bishop, and institution in the Church in the United States. It is well more than 2,000 pages long and weighs about 4 pounds. In many respects it is an archaic “Google” source regarding the Catholic Church in the U.S. Each year every diocese is asked to update its information, listing new institutions, names and addresses of priests, any changes in staffing personnel and all of the sacramental activities that have taken place within the diocese during the past year. As you might imagine, that process is time-consuming and intricate.
Father Joe Corbett, one of our Vicars General, stopped by my office the other day and alerted me that we had to find a more accurate way to account for all of the works of charity that we provide for the poor and needy in our Archdiocese. As he was reviewing the report that we had already submitted to the Kenedy Directory for 2007, it was clear to him and to me that our information for the activities of Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and all other projects and opportunities of caring for and serving the poor were nowhere near as accurate as they should be.
Some of you might inquire why is it so important to have an accurate listing of our giving and serving in the area of charity? Certainly we are not interested in boasting about the kindness of our people—which is certainly worthy of much pride. We realize that it would be impossible to track all of the good things that people do to help other people—and that is intentional since many individuals do not want any notice made of their charity. We want to have a more accurate record—not as a source of pride but as an expression of greater accountability of the funds that people provide for the works of charity that we in turn share with others.
Many of the funding agencies and philanthropic groups and individuals who provide grants and contributions for the Archdiocese of Atlanta need careful verification that the monies provided were used for the purposes for which they were intended. So Father Corbett and I want our Kenedy Directory information to be as accurate as possible to encourage even more people and organizations to support all of our outreach efforts on behalf of those who turn to our Catholic community for assistance and care.
During this time of year, people open their hearts in generous response to the needs of the poor, of children who will only receive the gifts that the kindness of others provide, for the elderly and homebound who will have a happy Christmas meal because of the love of others, and for military personnel who will receive a specially delivered Christmas package as an expression of our gratitude for their service to our nation. All of these activities are but a small expression of the charity that abounds in this local Church.
The Kenedy Directory report on the works of kindness that come from the people of this local Church will always be somewhat inaccurate because your goodness is beyond any real perfect measure—except for those records that are kept in God’s Kingdom, and they record every act of charity flawlessly!