By Mary Ellen Mahoney
The Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell was the site of this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal Ministry Fair on Sunday, April 7. Twenty-two of the ministries of the Diocese of Norwich were represented by their directors and staff who manned booths showcasing the good works being done by each ministry within our communities. This year, the ministry fair was “open house” style with an expanded continental breakfast being served. It was hoped that by encouraging people to stop in any time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., more people would attend the fair. Parishioners who attended received keepsakes ranging from homemade key rings, prayer cards, bottle openers and pens.
Door prizes were awarded every half hour as well. Bishop Cote welcomed attendees and ministry personnel, thanking donors for their generous support of the ACA and the ministries for their hard work and dedication to their missions. This year’s ACA theme, "Hand in Hand with All God’s Children," reverberated throughout the room, as ministry directors thanked donors for their generosity which allows each ministry to be the hands of Christ.
Ed Tessman, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, remarked, “The ministry fair is always a great opportunity to meet and engage with donors of the ACA. Supporters of the ACA are critical to our mission and the work that we do each and every day. This breakfast is not only a way to say thank you but also a way for ministries like ours to let donors know how important they are to us and to share with them the true impact of their support.” Without the kind gifts of our ACA donors, our ministries would not have the funds to carry out their missions. The importance of our Diocesan ministries in the lives of our friends and neighbors was recognized by many donors. Janet and Bill Maune of St. Pius X, Middletown, commented, “There is a ministry here for the young, the old and all in between. We cannot think of a problem that a person can have that is not addressed here.” Tim Sweeney of St. Bridget, Moodus, noted that our ministries are “truly working together, hand in hand with the donors” to bring support and relief to those in need. The “open house” style as opposed to the sit-down breakfast of past ministry fairs was seen as being more relaxed by many.
Jeff and Donna Naples, of St. Andrew, Colchester, observed, “The relaxed atmosphere was conducive to enjoying fellowship among loving people who are thankful for all the many blessings that the good Lord provides…” Reflecting on this year’s ACA theme, the Naples also remarked that, “Our burdens can be lightened when we find the courage to reach out and allow others to hold our hands and lead us closer to Christ.” Because of the kindness of our ACA donors, our Diocesan ministries are always extending their hands to those in need and in so doing, bringing both the helped and the helpers closer to Christ
The 2019 ACA, which kicked off in March, will run through the end of December. If you have already donated, thank you so much for your sacrifice. If you have not, please feel free to contact the Development Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, (860) 886-1928 or to make an online donation, go to norwichdiocesedevelopment.org.