“My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“I am writing to you today to announce the beginning of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for 2018. Each year, a different theme for the Appeal is chosen in order to highlight the many missions and causes carried out by the Church on a local level. The year 2018 marks two very significant anniversaries. First, it is the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, one of the greatest papal encyclicals of the 20th century. Second, and tragically, it is also the 45th year since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States.
“In keeping with the message of Pope Paul VI, who wrote Humanae Vitae in 1968, our theme for this year’s Appeal is “Promoting the Gospel of Life”. In his encyclical, Paul VI foresaw the great damage that would be done to any society that embraced abortion, contraception, and the breakdown of the family. He knew that a society that did not value life from conception to natural death would eventually erode and experience the degradation of the human person in all stages of life, from the poor and homeless, to the sick and disabled, to the weak and elderly.
“When you contribute to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, through your prayers and donations, you are actively taking a voice in helping the Catholic Church to promote the Gospel of Life. Fifty years ago, Pope Pius VI urged people of all nations that “there must be no relaxation in the programs of mutual aid between all the branches of the great human family.” Programs of mutual aid carried out here in the Diocese of Gallup include five Catholic Charities agencies which provide food, shelter, clothing, and emergency assistance to people who who struggle financially and have nowhere else to turn. Many of our outlying churches and missions require yearly heating and maintenance costs. Our priests and religious sisters, who have given their lives to serving our families and parishes, require care and living funds when they reach retirement age. And many of our young students, who otherwise would not be able to afford the tuition to attend the challenging, high-quality learning environment provided by our Catholic schools, receive scholarships and school supplies through the Appeal.
“From conception to natural death, from kindergarten through retirement age, all of these people are aided through the Church’s mission of promoting life, and in answer to a modern world that all too often overlooks the poor and the needy.
“Near the end of his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI wrote, “It is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ; but this must always be joined with tolerance and charity, as Christ Himself showed in His conversations and dealings with men.”
“I am grateful for the love and support each one of you demonstrates, through your prayers, words, and actions, and I offer my own prayers and efforts to yours as we answer the call to live the Gospel of Life.
“I remain, sincerely yours in Christ,
“Bishop James Wall”