Published April 20, 2006
Dear Friends in Christ,
On the weekend of April 29-30, Catholics in parishes across the nation are being asked to contribute to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. But what is a ‘home mission’? And why should we support it?
If you have ever visited eastern Kentucky or Tennessee, driven through rural Georgia, Alabama, or Mississippi, spent time on the Mexican border, or passed through scattered small towns in Wyoming, Montana, or Oregon, you have been in mission territory. The little brick or clapboard churches you see along the way, housing pockets of Catholic faithful, are the home missions. This Appeal also benefits Catholic communities in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and island chains in the Pacific that have ties to America.
Consider these facts:
• The Archdiocese of Anchorage has only 19 active priests to serve the towns and villages of central Alaska
• The Diocese of Lubbock in the Texas panhandle has 34 priests to cover 62 parishes and missions
• The Diocese of Little Rock, which covers the state of Arkansas, has 109 priests for 123 parishes and missions
• There are 70 priests in the state of Utah, 57 in Idaho, and 45 in Wyoming
The Church is quite fragile in many parts of the United States where Catholics are a small minority.
Helping satisfy the spiritual needs of our neighbors across the country unites all of us as a Catholic family. I invite you to respond generously to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. Please help strengthen our Church at home.
Sincerely in Christ,
†Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta