Annual Diocesan Appeal: Youngest among us are contributing

March 17, 2020

Amanda Kinnison of Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moin

When Father Chris Hartshorn encouraged his congregation to give to the annual diocesan appeal at Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines last fall, even the smallest of ears were listening.

Jill Kinnison was at Mass that day with her 10-year-old daughter,  Amanda, who was keenly attuned to his message. 

“I went into the pitch about the appeal and all of the areas it impacts – vocations, health care for priests, Catholic Charities and helping those in need,” Father Hartshorn said. “We can’t do it ourselves and we need to support the diocese and Catholic Charities to do what we do.” 

Hearing that a portion of the funds collected through the ADA went to Catholic Charities, which supports some of the most vulnerable in our diocese, prompted Amanda to act. 

She donated her own $5 to help. 

“Amanda was listening to his messages and decided that’s what she wanted to do,” Jill said. “She wanted to help whoever it could.”  
Her good deed did not go unnoticed. In fact, she received a letter of gratitude from Bishop William Joensen. 

“Your donation will help your parish and me tell the people of southwest Iowa about Jesus!” Bishop Joensen wrote. “Thank you for acting as a good steward of the gifts God has given you and for recognizing them at your young age of ten. God takes delight in you! 

“My prayer is that you continue to learn about your faith and share it with others through acts of charity and service. You are meant to be a saint, Amanda, and your parents, school teachers, and pastor will help you become one,” Bishop Joensen continued in his letter. 

“The saints in heaven, especially our Blessed Mother, Mary, will also help you, and I encourage you to pray to them often. I look forward to when I can join you in celebrating the sacrament of confirmation at Sacred Heart in just a few years,” Bishop Joensen concluded. 

The entire Kinnison family was excited about the personal note from Bishop Joensen. 

“We felt like it was a big honor that she received the letter and we actually showed it to grandparents, too,” Jill said. 

The letter from our bishop meant “a lot – because I’m on the path to being a saint,” Amanda said. 

“I liked it,” Amanda added. “It felt good.”

Father Hartshorn said he’s constantly amazed by the generosity of others – including the youngest of donors. 

“When you present the need and the solid case of what we need and why we need it, [I’m amazed] at how generous people are,” Father Hartshorn said. “And it’s beautiful that a young person responded in that way. It’s a beautiful sign for all of us and what we are called to do as disciples of Jesus."