We Bring Christ to Those in Need Through the CSA
Editor: Bishop Vásquez, the 2022-2023 Catholic Services Appeal, known as the CSA, is officially under way. What is the CSA?
Bishop Vásquez: The Catholic Services Appeal is the annual diocesan appeal that is conducted to support Catholic ministries throughout the Diocese of Austin. This is a vital appeal because it involves all of the parishes across the diocese coming together to ask parishioners to participate in the ongoing services and ministries of this local church.
As Catholics, we must see ourselves not as independent small groups or communities working individually but as the one Body of Christ. And as the Body of Christ, we take care of one other. Therefore, we ask each parish community and all of the people in the diocese to contribute to the Catholic Services Appeal to meet the needs of the diocese.
Editor: This year’s CSA theme is “This is my Body … This is my Blood,” how did you choose this theme?
Bishop Vásquez: I chose the theme “This is my Body … This is my Blood” for this year’s appeal because of the importance of the Eucharistic Revival that is taking place right now in our diocese and across the country. The revival is an initiative from the U.S. bishops to renew, strengthen and inspire people to appreciate the gift of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the greatest treasure of the Catholic Church. Our love for and our reception of the Eucharist transform us.
St. Augustine said when we receive Communion, we become what we eat. We are transformed more fully and assimilated more completely into Christ. Therefore, when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we are changed. We become more like the One we receive, and we are called to go out to others and bring Christ to them as well. The Eucharist leads us to serve others, especially those in need, which is also what we do through the Catholic Services Appeal.
Editor: Tell us about the critical ministries the CSA supports.
Bishop Vásquez: There are many ministries across the Diocese of Austin that the CSA supports. Gifts to the CSA support men discerning vocations to the priesthood and diaconate, as well as our priests currently serving in our parishes and our retired priests living at the St. John Paul II Residence for Priests in Georgetown. Each gift helps sustain the quality of education in our Catholic schools and religious education programs in our parishes as we provide ongoing formation for our catechists and youth ministers.
The CSA also supports the work of the diocesan marriage Tribunal, which accompanies men and women through the annulment process and brings them back to the sacramental life of the church. The CSA supports initiatives for life, peace and justice, including our Restorative Justice Ministry and the Office of Life, Marriage and Family. There are many ministries at different levels that are supported by the CSA across the Diocese of Austin. I want to assure all those who donate to the CSA that their gifts will be used to help Catholics live out their Catholic faith in this local church.
Editor: What is your prayer for this year, CSA?
Bishop Vásquez: Let us give thanks to God for the abundant blessings that come through the Catholic Services Appeal and that provide hope, healing, formation and transformation to countless numbers of people throughout our diocese. May the CSA invigorate our faith so that we may truly become the Body of Christ. Amen.
The Eucharist leads us to serve others, especially those in need, which is also what we do through the Catholic Services Appeal.