Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n his November 24, 2013, apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis expresses his desire that the joy that “fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” continue to spread through evangelization, with a renewed effort to serve the poor.
Pope Francis’ teaching is embodied in the mission statement of our diocese where we proclaim our calling to “reach out actively and invite all, without prejudice, to experience the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ; and distribute justly our resources with the poor and share with each other the gifts God has given to us.”
I remain deeply grateful for how you, the faithful of this diocese, have responded to this calling. You have shared your gifts with your parish, you have shared your gifts with our diocese, you have shared your gifts with the universal Church. Through this generous faith in action, God has continued to build up His Kingdom and has touched many with the joy of the Gospel.
Your generous support of our annual Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) furthers the joy of the Gospel in Arizona and beyond. Through the CDA, you are directly joined with the mission of the Church and especially with the encouragement of Pope Francis.
Your gifts to the CDA make possible our evangelization and outreach to all in our diocese, including the poor, the imprisoned, the disenfranchised and disheartened. The CDA strengthens our parishes and missions. It is developing future leaders through support of our seminarians and our Catholic schools. And your gifts to the CDA provide direct support to charitable organizations, touching the lives of tens of thousands throughout our great state of Arizona.
You have answered the call to faithful stewardship and missionary discipleship.
When you share your gifts, you entrust us to also be good stewards of your gifts. This Annual Stewardship Report is our accounting to you that the Diocese of Phoenix has used your gifts prudently and wisely, joining with you in fulfilling our mission as Christian stewards and loving disciples.
But what we accomplished in 2013 is about more than numbers. Please take a look at the pictures that celebrate some of the many ways we fulfilled our mission in 2013.
Thank you for sharing the joy of the Gospel through your apostolic witness and faithful stewardship of the gifts that God has bestowed on you and your families.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix