The following is taken from a letter from Father Michael Kiernan posted on the Sacramento diocese website on December 3. It was posted along with a copy of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio on Catholic charities.

Dear Pastors, Parochial Vicars, and Administrators:

As Bishop Soto informed you recently, I will complete my ministry in Catholic Charities/Social Service Ministry on December 28, 2012. I write, first of all, to thank you as a parish leader for your generous care for Charities during my time of service over the past 12 years. You have been wonderful in the ministry of caring you do in various ways.

I am in awe of the efforts reported to me by parishioners all over the diocese. In great or small, unseen and unsung ways, you have put into practice the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Your concern and support for the Annual Catholic Appeal has been most impressive and speaks well of how we live our Catholic faith. As Bishop Weigand said when he appointed me, “Catholic Charities/Social Service Ministry is constitutive of the Gospel.” People who are poor depend on you as you respect each one in your many ways of service. Don’t ever get discouraged keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus and those you serve. God bless you in your good work going forward.

As we all know, it is the competent, faithful, committed and compassionate staff, volunteers and parishes along with the Diocese and the openness to our services by the families who come to us that make up the heart of Catholic Charities/Social Service Ministry. I have been indebted and given life by the challenges and the blessings of those calls and responses, the humbling, awe-inspiring meeting with individual persons and their specific needs, the generosity of the people who make great things happen. The prophetic mission of ministry to those who are poor has allowed me to serve along with you over this time. I assure you of my continued appreciation for all the good of that same mission in service and in justice.

I have been blessed to know not only the Pastors and Directors, but so many other people in Charities, Social Justice, and Advocacy as I worked with them in the service of the whole community. I loved the variety of ministry opportunities such as St. Vincent de Paul Society, AIDS Ministry, Prison Ministry, Restorative Justice, PICO Organizing, Friends CARE, Quinn Cottages, Lazarus Ministries, Clara’s House, the Moral Values Program, Catholic Charities of California, Catholic Charities USA gatherings, and the many contacts with politicians, labor unions, media, to mention just a few. I loved knowing so many people and being able to serve with them. Their invitation, love and support to me was truly a blessing and encouragement. It was so enriching to see the Annual Catholic Appeal grow and be a source of joy for all our people each Appeal Sunday as the parishes rejoiced in seeing the good works being done. Of all the ministries I have been involved in, Catholic Charities/Social Service Ministry has truly been the blessing for me. I will greatly miss this work but change is inevitable in life and new ways to serve are constantly needed in our changing world….