Like the symbol of our new appeal, the dove, generosity through the Catholic Ministry Appeal will bring hope, peace to countless people. Every gift, of every size makes a difference, especially to those who benefit from the ministry, program or service we provide. Many times, though, we don’t get to see how our gift, when added to thousands, can make a huge impact to someone we may never meet. And that impact changes lives for Jesus Christ. Below are some of our stories of impact, told by the people who experienced gratitude, and in some cases conversion and a deeper understanding of their relationship with Jesus Christ:

Protecting our children is vital to our Catholic schools. We are entrusted with their safety, and we take that responsibility very seriously. And all I can say is “Thank you, Jesus for our diocesan Safe Environment Program!

The Safe Environment staff has saved our school the expense of operating the program and countless hours of extra work, while also alleviating an enormous amount of stress for our front office and administrative staff. The centralized fingerprinting service covers the cost of fingerprinting machines (which are anywhere from $18,000 – $20,000). All the records for fingerprinting are stored for 5 years in the Safe Environment office, not at the school, which saves us uncounted hours in paperwork and accountability issues with the state. We save money by not having to pay the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) fee of $6 per print to retain fingerprints on our site. Last, but by no means least, our school is saved from the anguish and stress of a surprise audit by the FDLE and/or FBI which happen every few years!

I pray we, as individual schools, NEVER have to take over this very serious responsibility.

Mrs. Florence Ann Buono, Principal
Notre Dame Catholic School, Spring Hill

The Safe Environment Program is one of 12 diocesan ministries that serve our clergy and lay leaders in their pastoral journey so they may continue offering our people the formation and foundation needed to bring God’s message, mission and ministry to our faith communities and world. Through the Catholic Ministry Appeal, this group of ministries will receive $1.9 million of the total $7.1 million appeal goal to carry out their good works.

“The 5th Encuentro and Ministry with Families 101 have been very great resources, providing motivation for our ministry, Matrimonio, Diálogo, Seguimiento or Marriage Dialogue Support (MDS).

One of the main themes of the 5th Encuentro is accompaniment, especially in the family. MDS stands out as a support group for marriages and the family, and by participating we solidify our mission to accompany couples and families, especially those going through difficulties.

We really liked “The Stages of Family Growth Life Cycle” from Ministry with Families 101 and applied it to our ministry. Through it, we learned that each stage of marriage is different, and the family is constantly changing. It is important to know what stage we are in and what challenges as well as rewards we can obtain, learn and apply to our spiritual life, recognizing that our spiritual life has its challenges and rewards. For example, when we are new parents our needs as a couple are totally different than when we are in the empty-nest stage.

We feel that through our ministry, we are on the path that our Church wants, supporting existing marriages and couples toward sacramental marriages and guiding not only marriages towards God but also the children that are part of the marriage, the future of our Church. We know now that it all starts in the center of the family.”

Deacon Elix and Lucy Castro
MDS Ministry

Marriage & Family Life and Ministry to Multicultural Communities are two of 11 diocesan ministries that embrace God’s call to serve, and offer all who seek God an opportunity to encounter Him and enrich our spiritual lives, fostering our response to God’s call to serve. Through the Catholic Ministry Appeal, this group of ministries will receive $3.1 million of the total $7.1 million appeal goal to carry out their good works.

What has really touched my heart, what has really touched me spiritually, are the sacraments of Baptism and Marriage.

Baptism has given me the opportunity to teach and show parents and God parents why Baptism is important. And when we go through the preparation sessions and I invite the God parents to be there, you see these “A-ha!” moments and hear so many statements like “I didn’t know.”

With Marriage, in addition to preparation you also have those that have not been married in the Catholic Church, people asking you to bless their existing marriage. I get to have very long discussions with them and teach them this part of the Catholic faith. And again, all of a sudden you see these “A-ha!” moments, and they say, “Why did I wait so long to receive this blessing, this sacrament – why did it take me so long?”

These moments are really gratifying because through them I can see these souls are going in the right direction. They fill my heart and I say, “Oh Lord, thank you for giving me the opportunity to help these people understand your love for them.

Deacon Jose Cruz
St. Joan of Arch, Spring Hill

The Diaconate Program & Formation is one of six diocesan ministries that embrace God’s call to serve, and actively carry out His mission and ministry with love, gratitude and concern for others while encouraging all to act. Through the Catholic Ministry Appeal, this group of ministries will receive $2.1 million of the total $7.1 million appeal goal to carry out their good works.