The 2014 Annual Catholic Appeal has surpassed its target of $4,347,000 by more than $186,000 with a total of $4,533,436 pledged as of July 7, the diocesan Development Office reported this week.
“The Annual Catholic Appeal is an opportunity for each of us to unite as a Catholic community and to answer the needs of those most vulnerable – the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, the distressed, the unchurched, our children and our elderly”, said development director Deborah Fols. “Because of the generosity of so many donors, those in need who come to the church searching for Christ’s love and protection will receive assistance.”
This year’s Appeal campaign theme, “Open Your Heart to Christ,” is a call to action inviting parishioners throughout the diocese to help keep the spirit of Christ alive in those hearts that need him most, Fols said.
Dollars raised through the Annual Catholic Appeal support more than 30 pastoral, educational and social services throughout Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland such as religious education, Catholic Youth Ministry, Seton Center, Bayard House, Hispanic Ministry, Pro-Life Activities and the diocese’s five high schools to name a few. Appeal contributions provide the necessary resources to operate diocesan programs and essential services that parishes cannot deliver on their own.
The 15,436 pledges received to date are about 700 less than those received by July of last year, said Fols, who added the total amount received to date is nearly equal to that of last year at this time.
The average contribution has increased from $274.46 to $284.50, the Development Office reported.
Solicitation results of 2,590 Circle of Honor members has so far yielded responses from 2,131 members or 82.3 percent totaling pledges of $2,369,843 or 52.3 percent of total pledges.
Fifty-four gifts from the clergy have been received totaling $51,319 for an average gift of $950.35.
Currently, 40 parishes have exceeded assigned targets in dollars pledged with an additional seven parishes at 95-99 percent of their goal. With three months remaining in the campaign, additional pledges are anticipated.
& capital campaign
Running concurrent with the Annual Catholic Appeal is the diocesan capital campaign, “Sustaining Hope for the Future” with a goal of $28 million to address four specified needs – reinforcing the diocesan lay employees’ pension plan, growing the priests’ retirement fund, strengthening existing diocesan-based ministries, and sustaining current and future needs of all parishes.
Last year 24 parishes participated in Wave I of the campaign; the remaining 33 parishes will participate this September. More than $16 million has already been pledged, including over $3 million raised by Bishop Malooly and nearly $500,000 contributed by the priests of the diocese.
Both the Annual Catholic Appeal and the Sustaining Hope for the Future capital campaign are essential to the diocese.
“The Annual Catholic Appeal is designed to fund the annual budgets of more than 30 ministries and services of the diocese,” said Bishop Malooly.
“The Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign is designed to fund shortfalls in the Lay Employee Pension plan, the Priests’ Retirement Fund and to firm up the overall financial condition of diocesan ministry offices,” the bishop added. “This campaign will put the diocese back on the right track financially following bankruptcy and several difficult economic years.”
Bishop Malooly commended the generosity of parishioners and the leadership of priests. “It is truly gratifying to see that our parishioners recognize the importance of the ministries supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal in addition to the needs addressed through the Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign. I am also grateful for the unyielding leadership and support demonstrated by our priests and the lay leadership of our parishes.”