November 1, 2019
Solemnity of All Saints
Dear Friends of the Institute,
I write to you today in celebration of the Institute of Catholic Culture’s 10th Anniversary as we draw near to the end of 2019 and prepare for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I ask for a few moments of your time to reflect with you on the amazing gift and mission of the Institute and to ask you to recommit to this important work at a critical time in our society, in our Church, and in the life of the Institute.
What a delight it was to celebrate the ICC’s 10th anniversary with so many gathered together to give glory to God! I am still reflecting on this great milestone and thanking God for His goodness towards the Institute’s mission. As I write, my thoughts go back not just 10 years ago, but rather almost 20 years ago when Fr. Hezekias, then the young Sabatino Carnazzo, first walked into my classroom as a new student at Christendom College. Could I have conceived of the special work God was preparing in the mind and heart of that young man who took an eager interest in his courses and soon became my friend? Could I have imagined then what we know now as the Institute of Catholic Culture—an organization that has influenced the hearts and minds of so many? I am filled with awe when I consider the providential timing of it all. Today, I join with Father Hezekias, the ICC staff, and the entire Institute family and invite you to give glory to God for His amazing graces in this time of crisis in our society and in our Church. And I ask you to help Fr. Hezekias and the Institute’s Board of Directors to further their mission as we draw near to the end of the year.
The critical situation that we face in our society and in our Church is not hard to see. So many are being led astray by false doctrines and unworthy leaders, and few are seeking the path which leads to authentic happiness. Now more than ever, God’s people need clear guidance to help discern the truth and live accordingly. I cannot think of another place like the ICC where people can be fed with the perennial truths of our faith and find faithful guides in leading them to consider the fundamental questions of life. And what a difference this can make for our Church and for society as a whole!
I stand before you today to witness to the fact that in my experience, the Institute family is unique in their joyful and faithful commitment to serving God and His Church. I do not know another group that is more engaged and hungry to learn the ways of the Lord and to discover authentic happiness for themselves and others. I do not know another group that has such a unique potential for effecting real change in our society and in our Church. As Dr. Timothy O’Donnell stated some years ago, “the ICC is a model that works!” I simply add that after ten years of service, Dr. O’Donnell’s words are now time-tested. It is time to support this mission 100% and commit ourselves fully to it!
As I stood in awe at the massive gathering for the ICC’s tenth anniversary, I witnessed the incarnated proof of God’s blessing upon the Institute. As I continue to reflect upon that beautiful day, I believe that I have come to a realization, an answer as to why the Institute of Catholic Culture has such a powerful effect on so many. The answer is simple but profound. Father Hezekias and the ICC team are keenly aware of the unfathomable reality that God calls us to be cooperators with Him in the salvation of the world. They are keenly aware of the importance of forming men and women who are seeking the truth and trying to live according to it. What an immense gift and responsibility it is when we discover that God calls us to be cooperators with Him in bringing salvation to the world. And when an individual discovers and responds to this beautiful invitation, all those around him are profoundly affected.
As individuals who have been impacted by what we have received through the Institute and have realized that the Lord has chosen us for this great mission, I ask you to renew your commitment today that we might answer the Lord’s call together by furthering the ICC’s mission of providing a solidly Catholic, well-rounded, and deep formation in the faith, at no cost, to those who hunger for the truth. In light of what Fr. Hezekias shared in his letter last month when he released the Institute’s 2019-2020 curriculum (including a full-year course in Catholic history) and plans for a totally revamped on-line learning experience, I once again affirm the nobility of ICC’s mission and ask you to participate in helping grow this mission to its full potential. The Institute of Catholic Culture is at the forefront of what we need in the Church, and I ask you to make a serious commitment to its future.
Because the ICC takes literally Christ’s direction to give freely of what we have freely received, Father Hezekias and his team must find ways to make ends meet as the end of 2019 draws near. While continuing to plan responsibly for the future, Father Hezekias shared with me the reality that the Institute runs a deficit most months of the year, only making up for the shortfall during their End-of-Year Drive. And so I turn to you today, on behalf of Fr. Hezekias, the ICC staff, the Board of Directors, and the entire Institute family, and ask you to be as generous as you can. Between now and the end of the year, the Institute needs to raise $152,000 to help meet expenses, and hopefully receive additional funds for planned growth.
While I realize that this amount is significant, it can be met and surpassed if all of us are as generous as we can be. If we join together as one family at this time, the Institute will not only be able to cover expenses for the year, but will also be able to grow for the future.
Please, imagine for a moment if we could give Father Hezekias all the support he needs. Imagine if the ICC could grow to meet the wide-spread hunger for truth and moral clarity in our Church and in our society. Imagine the impact that your support can have on real people who are searching for truth in this confused time.
As our society darkens and many – even inside the Church – seem to be losing their way, let us work together to be heralds of light. Fr. Hezekias has made the need clear, and it is now our opportunity to respond to the call. Please prayerfully consider how you can help contribute to this goal and let us see what God will do to bless and multiply our gifts.
John Cuddeback, Ph.D.
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