Adversity, hope, faith, generosity

Director of Philanthropy, Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana

Wow; what a year. In recent days, the news media has been covering the anniversaries of many of the firsts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We Catholics experienced additional firsts unique to our faith; the closing of Catholic Schools, a dispensation from Sunday and holy day Mass obligations, virtual Masses and suspension of parish activities. Across the country and worldwide, people had to come to grips with fear, anxiety, illness, financial hardship, loneliness and, in some cases, death.

At the same time, good things came out of the unprecedented life we found ourselves living. Many planted gardens, some for the first time. Books that had grown dusty on shelves were taken down and read. Children and parents spent large amounts of time together preparing meals, riding bikes, spreading mulch, doing puzzles, planting flowers, harvesting vegetables and talking. No one had to be at practice or a ball game, or a conference or a meeting. There was plenty of time for introspection and discerning how to best use our resources to nurture ourselves and to help others.

Helping other people has always been a large part of our faith. According to the USCCB Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching, “We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”1 The people of the Diocese of Evansville have remained generous during this time of adversity and have given as they were able.

The Catholic Foundation holds 675 endowments for parish life, Catholic education, vocations and social services. These endowments have been created over the past 29 years and represent the hard work, diligent saving and careful planning of people across the diocese and through the generations. This year, the endowments are making available more than $2.858 million to the designated beneficiaries. Those who came before us now live through us as the hands and feet of Christ.

Their generosity is allowing us to carry out the mission of the Church during these challenging times. Thank you to each individual and every family who made these endowments perpetual gifts to future generations.

As we come to the end of Lent and move into the Easter Season, we see, hear and feel spring surrounding us and bringing with it the anticipation of new beginnings. We witness the pandemic coming under control, and our world feels less uncertain.  But most of all, we celebrate the risen Christ; and according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery…”2

Embrace the slower pace and simplified schedule of the past year; it can be a healthy way to move forward. Choose wisely the things you reintroduce into your daily life, and do not mourn the activities you leave behind – only the people you have lost. Live in faith.