NORTH ANDOVER — “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift, That’s why it’s called the Present.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley began his homily with the well known saying at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Michael Parish yesterday as Catholics across the Archdiocese of Boston made their commitment to the 2014 Catholic Appeal. Earlier he celebrated Mass in Spanish at St. Mary of the Assumption in Lawrence.

Yesterday was Commitment Weekend for the appeal, when parishioners throughout the archdiocese made pledges to their church’s campaign at Mass. Last weekend, O’Malley spoke to members via video announcing the 2014 Appeal campaign. The theme of this year’s Catholic Appeal is “Forward in Hope,” taken from Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, Latin for “The Light of Faith.”

O’Malley emphasized faith throughout his sermon yesterday.

“Worrying is often being blind to God’s love. Faith means to trust in God and we need faith to see the love of God and we have to transmit that faith to new believers by sharing the resources God has given us,” O’Malley said.

The goal for the 2014 Catholic Appeal is $16 million. Last year, the archdiocese said it raised $15.2 million, an increase of more than $1 million from the 2012 Catholic Appeal.

The Appeal is the primary philanthropic funding effort supporting the work of the Church in the Archdiocese of Boston, the fourth largest diocese in the country with 1.8 million Catholics, through 289 parishes in 144 communities.

“I pray that God blesses each and every one of you to advance the mission of faith so we can work to repair what’s broken, feed the hungry and evangelize the non-believers,” O’Malley said in his homily at St. Michael.

“We can do this together and I’m here to ask for your help,” he said.

The Catholic Appeal funds more than 50 ministries, including pastoral visits to the elderly and home bound.

When the pipes burst at St. Michael’s School recently, the archdiocese sent a cleaning crew, said Jim Keith as he spoke to fellow parishioners during Mass.

“This is a very generous parish that contributes to the archdiocese,” said Katherine Keith, who along with her husband Jim, are leading the Catholic Appeal campaign at St. Michael. “They won’t let us down.”

Jim Keith said 66 families have already turned in their pledges, for a total of $29,757 toward the parish’s goal of $109,000. In contrast, St. Mary of the Assumption has raised $900 out of their $37,519 goal.

“Both parishes put an extraordinary amount of effort in encouraging parishioners to support the work of the Church through the Appeal,” O’Malley said, about why he chose to celebrate Mass in Lawrence and North Andover. “The Appeal is supported by Catholics throughout the Archdiocese, not just those who are financially blessed.”




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