The 2011 Annual Catholic Appeal set a new record with collections of more than $4.3 million, the campaign’s highest total in its 36-year history, the diocesan Development Office announced this week.
Collections totaled $4,394,389 at the campaign’s close on Jan. 10, more than 8 percent above the campaign target of $4,058,000. The campaign generated pledges of $4,593,735 from nearly 28 percent of the constituents registered in the diocese’s 57 parishes and the Korean Catholic Community. The average gift was $253.08.
Collections in 2011 topped the 2010 total of $4,216,398 by 4.2 percent. The average contribution is $16.35 higher than last year.
“The success of the Appeal is yet another example of the continuing generosity of the fine people of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington,” said Bishop Malooly. “It is truly gratifying to see that our parishioners recognize the importance of the ministries supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal. I am also grateful for the unyielding leadership and support demonstrated by our priests and the lay leadership of our parishes.”
Forty-three parishes and the Korean Catholic Community have made contributions in excess of their campaign targets. Parishes that top their goal receive rebates – 50 percent of the excess to parishes that do not support a school and 100 percent of the excess to those that do. Overall, rebates will total approximately $320,000 according to the Development Office.
Responding to the slight decline in participation, from 18,700 gifts in 2010 to 18,151, development director Deborah Fols said, “The challenges of the current economy have touched virtually everyone’s lives. While this has increased the need for assistance, it has also, in many cases, reduced the resources of even our most faithful contributors. Our office received letters from a number of individuals apologizing for their inability to support this year’s campaign.”
Support remained strong from Circle of Honor members who contribute gifts of $500 or more, Fols added, with 2,375 donors contributing about 58 percent of the collected income.
Contributions of about $52,600 were received from 69 members of the clergy, an average gift of $762. More than 1,600 first-time donors pledged $254,000 — 5 percent of the total dollars pledged.
Contributions to the Appeal help support more than 30 ministries in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, many of them serving people with medical, emotional, spiritual, educational and financial needs.
Some parishioners not only offer their support of the Annual Catholic Appeal by sharing their gifts of treasure, but they also offer their gifts of time and talent by serving as members of their respective parish lay leadership teams.
A member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Seaford, DE, Amelia (Min) Zamberlan has supported the Appeal since 1992 and has served on the Appeal parish leadership team as In-Pew coordinator for several years.
“It’s very important that all parishioners participate in the Annual Catholic Appeal. The campaign helps to sustain many programs and ministries that are critical to the people of this diocese,” Zamberlan said. “Everyone should be willing to give of their time and talent for the benefit of our church and its people; it’s part of our faith and baptismal commitment.”
Deacon Jose Rodriquez-Trejo, a member of St. Michael the Archangel in Georgetown, came to the diocese in 2008 from Allentown and supports the Appeal by serving as the parish’s Appeal audit coordinator.
“I became involved in the Appeal because I wanted to help the church as a whole and the diocese during a difficult time,” said Deacon Rodriquez-Trejo. “It’s like a tripod; the three legged structure is the best support – one leg for talent, one for time and the other resources. “If you apply these principals, you can never go wrong.”
Retired from DuPont in 1992 as a financial analyst, Joanne McGrath of St. Mary the Assumption parish in Hockessin serves as the parish’s Appeal coordinator.
“The Appeal produces positive results. The various ministries supported by the Appeal offer essential and life-enriching help to thousands of people each year, McGrath said. “I’m confident that the money given by parishioners is managed well and that it goes to those in need of our help.”
A participant of the Annual Catholic Appeal since 1988, James McFadden serves as Appeal coordinator for St. Helena in Wilmington. “I contribute to the Appeal each year because I believe the campaign is certainly worth my support. There are many people in need and the ministries supported by the Appeal help to meet those needs,” said McFadden. “I feel that God has been good to me and it’s time to pay back. I am willing to do what I can to benefit my parish and diocese.”
Details of the 2012 Annual Catholic Appeal will be announced in February. Commitment Weekend is scheduled for April 21-22.