Smiling Bishop Etienne Ordination Mass

Dear People of God:

The time is approaching once again for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.  Our goal this year is $1,707,000.

This appeal is the primary source of funding for Diocesan operations, which include such important ministries as Seminary education.  This year we have ten seminarians, and will ordain one young man to the priesthood in late May.  We are on track at this time for eleven seminarians in the coming academic year.  The average annual cost per student is quickly approaching $30,000.  The appeal also funds the vocations office, which is primarily a salary and programs. 

A large part of our diocesan operations is salaries and benefits for the seventeen individuals who work out of the Diocesan Pastoral Office, which includes Tribunal, Finance, Development, Pastoral Ministries, Catholic Schools, Catholic Register, Chancellor and Bishop.  Other agencies and ministries benefiting from the appeal are Catholic Charities of Wyoming, Campus Ministry, and our Permanent Deacon formation program. 

As a Diocese, we rely upon the generosity of people at the parish level to fulfill the ministries of the broader Church.  Thus, we ask each Catholic family of the diocese to be willing to make some contribution towards the success of this annual appeal.  From early on in our relationship with God, He has asked us to recognize all we have as a gift, and to be generous in sharing those gifts in return.  “The choicest first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord, your God.”  (Exodus 23:19) 

There was a couple in one of my parishes as a pastor who shared with me their own growth in understanding how to give back to God.  They said:

For years, as a couple, we gave to the church from what was left over at the end of every month, and it was amazing how there was never much left at that time.  Then, as we grew in faith, we began making the offering to the church the first gift of each month, and we were so surprised to see there was always something left over at the end of the month.  Now, we find it exciting to explore avenues of charitable giving, because we know that God will never be outdone in generosity.

I love that story!  As your bishop, know that I have already made my contribution to this year’s appeal.  I, too, have learned that God’s goodness is always greater than mine.  I invite you to enter deeply into the mystery of God’s goodness by sharing the bounty of His goodness to you, so that others, through the ministry of the Diocese of Cheyenne, may continue to experience the love of God in practical ways.

Please be assured of my prayers for you, and my gratitude for your generosity.  As always, I remain,