Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
I would like to start this pastor's column with some good news.  Last year 299 families from Sacred Heart Parish gave to the "Catholic Arkansas Sharing Appeal" which led us to reach and easily surpass our parish goal for 2017.  I must admit that while I'm tempted to focus firstly on the fact that we got "so close" to 300 or more families who made a gift to help fund a LARGE variety of ministries and activities that are happening throughout the state of Arkansas, instead, let me say a loud (or at least a "strong" since you can't hear me) THANK YOU VERY MUCH to those who were so thoughtful and generous to this great cause.

I'm sure some, if not many of you, receive throughout the year, solicitations to help a large variety of causes and needs.  While most of us don't even try to give something to all of them, it takes thought and reflection before deciding which causes we will help.

The good thing about the Catholic Arkansas Sharing Appeal is that the money I give goes to a great variety of peple in need from the poor (Catholic Charities), to the Unborn (through the efforts of the Respect Life Office), to needy students (in Catholic Schools, religious education, and College Campus Ministry Programs) to our seminarians (who are being prepared to be our future priests in Arkansas), to our adults and youth who use diocesan facilities (that have recently been renovated) for retreats (like our own parish men's retreat February 26-March 1, and opportunities for formation and education (like our future permanent deacons).  The list is so long, I might mention more of them in future columns.  The bottom line is THEY ALL need our support and will get it through our gift to the Arkansas Sharing Appeal.  While we, thanks be to God have reached and surpassed our goal this past year and in previous years, the overall goal has not been reached for quite a few years, so some hard decisions have to be made when it comes to who might not get as much as they need.

PLEASE have an open mind and heart to what you hear next weekend, and especially if you haven't given anything to this appeal in the past, consider doing something this year.  I am happy to say, our parish has, in the last number of years, had some of the highest numbers of total givers, and I hope and pray that trend continues and goes even higher this year.

Praise God for all the work that's being done in the name of Jesus Christ and all of us who give to the Catholic Arkansas Sharing Appeal!