Message from the Pastor
Some years ago during my college days, I came upon a book titled Images of Hope: Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless by the Jesuit author Father William F. Lynch. A classicist by training, Lynch’s book is a seminal text in the field of psychology and became a source of inspiration personally as I grew through my young adulthood. It, moreover, served as an important resource professionally as I researched, taught and developed my practice as a pastoral counselor.
In the book, Lynch cultivates themes of hope through discussions of hopelessness, the dangers of “either/or” thinking (what he terms “the absolutizing instinct”) and the importance of using our capacities to imagine and to wish so as to hope. He seeds this important book with insights such as: “The two states of wishing and imagining seem always to accompany each other. Where there is no imagining there is no wishing: where there is no wishing there is no imagining. Imagining things rightly and fully is the most human of gifts.”
It was Lynch’s sense of hope that inspired my imagination when I considered this year’s Archdiocesan Appeal, the theme of which is “Hearts Filled with Hope.” Meant to be more than a slogan, the appeal’s theme invites us to imagine how Holy Trinity is united in a common mission of evangelizing and service with our sister parishes and other Catholic institutions. Spread throughout the breadth of this large and multifaceted archdiocese, the faithful from 139 parishes are united in the hope of Christ.
According to the 2019 Catholic Directory, among the Archdiocese of Washington’s institutions are: four Catholic hospitals, 81 health care centers, 31 homes for the aged, 12 day care centers, 61 special centers for social services, six centers for the residential care of the disabled, 16 high schools and 61 elementary schools. Moreover, religious catechesis is provided for 2,059 high school students and 21,510 elementary school students who do not attend Catholic schools. It is important to note that out of a total population of over 3 million, there are nearly 670,000 baptized Catholics, which constitutes 22% of the population.
It is not difficult then to imagine how many thousands of people of all ages, many of whom are not Catholic, are helped by this appeal. One way to consider the appeal’s significant impact is to imagine that the works of the archdiocese provides to be an “ecology of hope.” That is to say, through the proceeds of the appeal, environments are created and sustained whereby the lives of children, women and men are touched in mind, body and spirit.
According to Archbishop Wilton Gregory, 60 ministries are directly supported by the appeal. In his statement, the Archbishop remarks that the appeal is “a collective activity to advance the hope of Christ.”
I invite you then to share in the hope of thousands by giving to the appeal. By so doing, you will be creating some of the “images of hope” that Christ has for the world.