This evening, we gather together for a special Liturgy of Thanksgiving for our Circle of Donors to the 2016 Annual Giving Campaign.
At Sacred Heart, we traditionally begin this evening in this chapel with Mass because each of us here has been given a special gift by God—an impulse to generosity which has poured out from God to you as an expression of love for the students in this school.
Jesus loved little children and He called them to himself. He said, “…let the little children come to me.” Each of you have received that instinct of Jesus’– to love, to care for and to call little children to know Him personally and deeply as a child of the Sacred Heart.
You are here this evening because of this special call. And, whether you realize it or not, you are
to impart to each one of them a sense of being enfolded in a family of faith that reaches to the farthest ends of the earth. These gifts of yours to these 736 children of our school are truly immeasurable, timeless and priceless.
You may not know this, but St. Madeleine Sophie Barat considered generosity as an essential aspect of the Society of the Sacred Hearts’ charism in the Church. Madeleine Sophie constantly empathized generosity with her nuns as being essential to the character of the sisters and to their religious formation.
To her, generosity was an attribute of God’s heart and of God’s way of loving. She observed that generosity was inseparable from the other virtues of kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty and empathy. In other words, if one was generous one was likely to also be a person who puts the interest of others over self, gives of their time, resources, skills and knowledge, holds nothing back, and lives life with courage and confidence.
I look out into this chapel as we begin this liturgy: I see Evelyn and Vince Liberto, our Annual Giving Chairs, our Board leadership, and person after person in this chapel that are just as St. Madeleine Sophie described–people who are all part of this marvelous mission of Sacred Heart education in New Orleans. Among you, I see kind people, sensitive, compassionate, honest and passionate people—all possessing qualities of Jesus’ heart.
With all of you, it is a joy to be in mission here at Sacred Heart.
With the faculty, staff, students, and the Religious of the Sacred Heart, we pray in gratitude for you, our circle of donors, for your gifts to this school in so many ways—your gifts of time, resources, knowledge and assistance in so many ways. You are very special gifts of God and a very special help to me and this school.
Now, let us stand, greet our celebrant, Fr. Frank Reale, S.J. and join Mrs. Jodi McWilliams and our Primary School Choir as we sing together our opening song, “Gather Us In.”