Another Opportunity for Us to Show Our Love for Christ and Each Other
By Bishop David J. Malloy
We’ve just celebrated Holy Week. That celebration concluded with the holiest day of the year, Easter Sunday. Jesus’s resurrection from the dead that we celebrate each Easter was the hope and promise that if we become like Him in this life, He will make us even more like Him in the next.
The Easter mystery centers on the body of Jesus. It was that body that was born in Bethlehem. That body felt joy and sorrow, thirst and hunger, and the pain of the crucifixion. That same body, brought to a greater glory, was an essential aspect of Jesus’s rising from the dead.
For us as followers of Jesus, the message of Holy Week is that our Catholic faith is not an abstraction. We do not simply believe intellectually the teachings and dogmas of our faith. Those teachings and dogmas are crucial, they are our guideposts, and they are eternal. But they do not stand alone. We recall the Letter of James. He wrote, “Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works” (Js 2:18).
The point is that Christ calls His followers to live their faith. We constantly seek ways to see and love Christ in our brothers and sisters. Our body, that we hope will rise from the tomb in glory, will be that same body that acted with faith and in service to others. 
I mention this because on the weekend of Sunday, May 1, we will observe once more a concrete moment for living out in this world the faith we treasure. That weekend begins our Diocesan Appeal for 2022.
Each year, I ask your help and generosity in contributing to the work of the Church and of my own ministry as Bishop in the Diocese of Rockford through that appeal. Just as your parish has certain worldly needs in order to function, so too does the diocese. And these needs relate to the work of the Church that go beyond what most of us can do individually.
For example, of all the funds that you generously offer to the Diocesan Appeal, 60 percent enables our diocese to fulfill Christ’s command to us to “go and teach all the nations.” Your help allows us to proclaim the Gospel through the work of our Catholic Education Office, our Adult Faith Formation Office and our Office for Youth Ministry.
Another 20 percent of the collection serves the poor and the vulnerable. Our Catholic Charities work and our Life Office, which promotes respect for the unborn and those close to death, are just two of the beneficiaries of your generosity.
The final 20 percent supports our clergy who continue to do so much for our faith and salvation. These funds are used for the seminary formation of our new priests, the formation and support of our permanent deacons and the health care and pensions of our retired priests who have served us over many years.
I am so very grateful for all who helped to generously make our 2021 Diocesan Appeal a success, even in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. As we look to the coming year, the needs remain great but so does the faith and generosity of the faithful. Please prayerfully consider generously contributing to this year’s appeal, whose theme repeats the words of Jesus, “Do you love me?” The appeal allows us to respond, “Yes Lord!” by loving Him through our service to others, given in faith and love.
Thank you sincerely for your prayers and for whatever prayers or contributions you are able to give this year.