Chances are that if you’ve attended a liturgical minister formation training in your parish or taken part in a youth leadership event or entered the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, you have benefitted from the Catholic Services Appeal.
Those ministries and dozens more are supported each year through the Catholic Services Appeal. The annual appeal is the Archdiocese of Louisville’s largest free-will offering.
Organizers of the appeal aim to raise $3.75 million during the 2017 campaign, which officially launches Oct. 1 and concludes next June.
Last year’s campaign yielded a record $3,938,466 — more than 113 percent of the $3.5 million goal. And, 14,977 donors participated in the campaign in the 2016 campaign.
The campaign’s tagline — “Hope allows us to see a tomorrow” — is excerpted from a TED talk Pope Francis gave earlier this year.
“We’re reflecting on the past 50 years but also looking to what the next 50 years will look like for the ministries supported by the Catholic Services Appeal,” said Sarah Wunderlin, director of annual giving for the Office of Mission Advancement.
As the campaign looks to the next 50 years, special attention is paid to two ministries in this year’s campaign — youth and young adult ministry and vocations. Those two areas of ministry, which help cultivate the church’s future leaders, are featured in the appeal’s video, which can seen below.
The Catholic Services Appeal was established in 1968 by Archbishop Thomas J. McDonough to support the ministries and services of the archdiocese. The campaign, then known as the Archdiocesan Development Fund, helped support the programs and directives of Vatican II, which took place from 1962-1965, said Tink Guthrie, director of the Office of Mission Advancement.
These days, donations to the appeal support more than 110 ministries and programs in the archdiocese — from catechist certification classes provided by the Office of Faith Formation to assistance for human trafficking victims offered by Catholic Charities.
Parishioners can expect to hear about the 2017 appeal at Masses on Oct. 7 and 8. Information about the campaign and the ministries it funds should arrive by mail during the first week of October. In addition to a letter from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and a gift form, a prayer intention card will also be enclosed.
Parishioners are invited to fill out the prayer intention card, regardless of their ability to contribute to the appeal. The intentions will be given to Archbishop Kurtz, who reflects on the cards during his morning prayers.
Parishioners under the age of 40 will have the opportunity to double their gift. A matching gift program, provided by an anonymous donor, will match 100 percent of any gift made by someone who is head of their household and under 40 years old.
In addition, a matching gift will also be made for any new members of the Salt & Light Giving Society. The Salt & Light Giving Society recognizes individuals who give at least $500 to the appeal. Matching gifts will be equal to the difference between their gift last year and the gift that qualifies them for Salt & Light this year. For example, a donor who gave $300 last year and gives $500 this year, will have $200 matched.
A new focus this year for the staff of the Mission Advancement office was to reach out to Hispanic parishioners of the archdiocese, said Guthrie. More campaign materials have been printed in Spanish, including the appeal brochure and a poster. Also, the Catholic Services Appeal 2017 video has Spanish subtitles.
Organizers of the appeal said the continued support of parishes, pastors and donors make the Catholic Services Appeal a success year after year.
“This year, as is true every year, we could not do what we do without the support of the pastors and parish leadership,” Wunderlin said.
To learn more about the appeal or to give online, visit www.archlou.org/CSA.