LAKE CHARLES – The 40th annual fundraising effort conducted in the Diocese of Lake Charles – the Bishop’s Services Appeal – began in the parishes of the diocese on Sunday, Nov. 29, the First Sunday of Advent, with this year’s theme being ‘Now you are Christ’s body, and individually part of it,’ coming from I Corinthians 12:27.

This year’s goal stands at $824,000 and contributions to the BSA provide for assistance to a variety of ministries of the local church including Catholic Education, Youth Ministry, Vocations/Seminarians, Catholic Charities, Family Life, Annulment and other Tribunal Fees, Seafarers Center, Diocesan Counseling, Evangelization, Communications, and Saint Charles Center.

In his Bishop’s Services Appeal message, Bishop Glen John Provost said, “As we begin this Advent season, I am reminded of a comment I heard often as a parish priest: ‘The weeks leading to Christmas are always so busy and stressful that I am usually happy when it’s over!’ After all that we have experienced this year, I cannot help but smile when I think of how eagerly we would now embrace those duties in exchange for a “normal” Advent and Christmas season. 

“In many ways, what once appeared stressful no longer does, and what was once taken for granted can no longer be,” the Bishop said. “Yet as much as we would welcome a return to normalcy, we have, amidst the uncertainties and difficulties of this year, continued to press forward with the everyday duties of life, and with the Advent season upon us, we are reminded of the need to continue on our path. 

“For the Diocese, these everyday tasks have also continued, though with increased urgency after Hurricanes Laura and Delta damaged or destroyed many of our parishes and diocesan facilities. After Laura we quickly mobilized available resources, both administrative and charitable. We formed a recovery team, contracted the services of a company to facilitate FEMA assistance for our parishes and schools, and began humanitarian efforts. Catholic Charities was, by the grace of God, operational within thirty-six hours of the storm’s landfall and has since distributed vast quantities of material resources. 

“Saint Charles Center was used to house seminarians as well as priests whose parish rectories were destroyed, while Camp Karol has been organized to provide temporary office space for diocesan personnel, until significant wind and water damage can be repaired at the diocesan offices,” he continued. “We have also coordinated and received donations for the broader recovery effort. The generous response of so many has been truly humbling, especially when we think that some parishes remain open in large part because of the availability of these resources.

“During this holy season, we continue to press forward as a community of faith, united in our efforts and eagerly awaiting the Prince of Peace, whose birth under the most trying of conditions reveals that the true desire of our hearts is not for normalcy – but for peace,” he concluded. 

Donors have a number of payment options to make their contribution:

  • By check or cash in your parish’s special BSA collection envelope.
  • By designating a donation at any time in your parish’s collection.
  • By credit card or electronic check (ACH) through the Diocese of Lake Charles’ website at http://www.lcdiocese.org/resources/support-the-diocese.