Even in these challenging times, we are reminded of the many blessings in our Diocese.
One recent blessing is helping us continue to help our families and children through acts of generosity. Some of you may recall Tom Flatley’s extraordinary life of immigrating to the United States from Ireland with a few dollars in his pocket and building a real estate development company worth more than a billion dollars. Beyond being a highly successful businessman, Tom was an ardent Catholic and philanthropist within our Diocese. His children, through the Flatley Foundation, have supported our schools and scholarships for children to attend them in a way that is both humbling and inspiring.
Recently, the Foundation provided a leadership award of $100,000 to help us provide financial aid to families who have children in our Catholic schools. The heading on the letter that accompanied the award had a quote from Saint Teresa of Calcutta: “A hand in need is helped by a hand in deed.” The Flatley Foundation’s lead gift and the magnitude of need our Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) leadership is working to address has inspired others to heed this call. An anonymous supporter then made a gift that matched the Flatley Foundation’s.
The Thomas Rodgers Jr. Family Foundation also recently awarded $50,000 to help our schools provide support to families struggling with low income and, like the Flatley family, this award also was made possible with the support of the next generation of philanthropists, Sarah Rodgers McNeill. Long-time partner and generous supporter BayCoast Bank also granted a $50,000 award to help our schools and families weather the storm. St. Mary, Our Lady of the Isle parishioners and supporters Lucile Hays and Christina Craighead, through the John and Christina Craighead Foundation, as well as two other Catholic schools supporters and friends to our Diocese, also sent aid for this special effort.
These good deeds will help provide the continuity of a Catholic education for the children in our Diocese! These children, in turn, will receive the values-based and Christ-centered education that will help them to grow fully into their God-given potential. In doing so, the good deeds of these donors—and many others who have contributed at this unprecedented time to help others—multiply. We give thanks to all who are helping our children and families through acts of generosity and kindness!
U.S. Bishops Vote to Hold November Meeting Virtually
Each November, the bishops of the United States gather for their General Assembly in Baltimore. Earlier this month after consultation with the Holy See, the bishop-members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to approve the convocation of this annual November meeting in a virtual format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past months, my USCCB committee meetings have been held via Zoom. It has been a blessing to continue the important work of these committees while remaining safe and healthy, as well as reducing the amount of travel often required.
This unprecedented time has marked historic firsts for the USCCB:
“Earlier this year, the Administrative Committee voted to cancel their Spring Assembly out of concern for the health, well-being, and safety of the bishops, staff, observers, guests, affiliates, volunteers, contractors, and media involved with the general meetings in the wake of the novel coronavirus. It marked the first cancellation of a plenary assembly in the Conference’s history.
The bylaws of the Conference state that a plenary assembly is to be convened at least once a year, and conducting the November meeting in virtual format fulfills this requirement. More information will be made available as the details of the virtual meeting are finalized and will be posted to https://www.usccb.org/meetings.”
Importance of Faith
Today, I want to end my blog on the importance of faith in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty. As students return to school, whether in person or remote, and families balance concerns for the future with taking care of today—faith becomes all the more essential for us to hold tight. We all have many decisions before us and have many questions to be answered. With the lack of information, in some cases, to base our actions, it would be very easy for us to get lost and discouraged without our faith. Our Catholic faith gives us solid ground upon which to stand firmly in hope and peace. Faith is a precious gift we receive at our baptism on which we can rely throughout our lives to guide us, especially in the most difficult moments.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha