I write this with the hope of encouraging you to contribute to the Giving Together Campaign.
My grandparents immigrated from Poland to Nova Scotia in 1902. They bought a farm and, in winter, Grandpa worked in the coal mine to earn extra money. Church was important to them. It was a place of hope, faith and love. Mass was a time when extended family and friends got together, shared their language and news, and said prayers of thanksgiving for a better life than that in Europe.
Dad immigrated in the early 1930's. He fell in love, married Mom and eventually inherited the farm. Life was difficult during the Depression, but we had a roof over our heads, food to eat, and devotion to God for all that we had. I remember learning about generosity and sharing of one's income to support the church and its work.
My father, brother and I moved to Montreal in 1955. My brother and I had our high school diplomas and $250 in our pockets. We found a place to live, a job and a church to thank God for our blessings. As my salaries increased, I remembered to add more to the collection basket to help pay for church expenses.
I came to Sarnia in 1977. By then I had married and we had two children who would attend St. Margaret's School. Since that school had their school masses at St. Benedict's, that church became our spiritual home.
My wife and I wanted our children to have a Catholic education, to learn and believe in God and Jesus, and to receive the sacraments. I worked in the plants. Shift work prevented me from joining activities, but I attended mass regularly. As my salary increased I remembered my childhood learning of generosity to the church, so I increased my envelope contributions accordingly to help the parish cover expenses. Our children received their sacraments of First Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation at St. Ben's. I was really proud to watch both of them serve on the altar. Our son received the Sacrament of Marriage at OLM and my wife joined the church through RCIA. Our oldest grandchild was baptized at OLM and will receive First Holy Communion this spring at Sacred Heart.
After reading the Bishop's letter in the package, I was surprised to learn the ages of our three churches, which have stood and hopefully will continue to stand as beacons of hope, faith, and love for our community. I take care of my own home and feel deeply that I ought to take care of my spiritual home as well. In gratitude, I have contributed to the campaign.
A yearly donation of $400.00 is a little more than $1.00 a day and you would be entitled to a tax rebate. Doing this for 5 years, you would generously give $2000.00 to the Campaign, earn a place on the bronze plaque and help the Giving Together Campaign reach its goal and complete its projects. (Of course, some are able to reach a little deeper into their pockets and give more, and all donations are greatly accepted.)
Each of us needs to do our part, whether big or small, so our spiritual home can thrive and be cared for properly for many years to come.
If you would like a visit from one of our volunteer teams, to talk about the campaign before you donate, we would be glad to meet with you. Just call the parish officeat 519-336-2653 and we can set up a time. There are also Campaign Information Kits available at the back of the church.