By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Gifts and pledges to the 2019 Catholic Services Appeal — the archdiocese’s largest free-will offering wrapped up at the end of June, meeting ninety-seven percent of its goal.
The 2019 appeal’s theme was “To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us.”
The goal was $3.9 million and at the closing of the campaign $3,791,539 had been pledged, said Erin Dwyer, coordinator of annual giving and stewardship.
“We had so much more participation from parishes this year,” said Dwyer in a recent interview. Forty-five parishes met their participation goal this year compared to 20 parishes during the 2018 campaign, noted Dwyer.
“Despite the pandemic, the participation was great. There was a push to let people know that no gift is too small. Many of our pastors emphasized that just contributing is the important thing,” she said. Over 13,200 donors contributed.
Dwyer also noted that the success of the campaign is due in large part to “dedication” of the faithful, pastors and pastoral administrators.
“Truly, the success of the Catholic Services Appeal would not be possible without the dedication of the faithful of the Archdiocese, but also our pastors and pastoral administrators, as well as the parish staff and volunteers who work countless hours promoting the good works of CSA,” Dwyer said.
Though the COVID-19 global pandemic created challenges near the tail end of the campaign, it presented an opportunity to “engage more deeply” with many of the programs and ministries supported by the Catholic Services Appeal, said Dwyer.
“Our agencies hit the ground running to ensure the safety of those we serve and to assist those in need,” she said. “We all came together to ensure great communication to adapt our worship and ability to participate in liturgy through live streaming services so people could still be connected, especially during Lent. There’s a lot of work happening despite the difficulties.”
During the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the appeal’s dollars went to work in numerous ways Dwyer said, including:
- The Finance Office and other departments worked to help 108 parishes receive loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
- Catholic Charities assisted needy individuals with direct services and also provided grants to parishes for them to do the same.
- The Office of Mission Advancement set up an online portal that allowed some parishes to receive offerings online.
“Because of the generosity of so many of the faithful throughout the archdiocese, we can continue to serve through the more than 100 ministries and programs” supported by the appeal, said Dwyer.
The CSA provides funding to more than 110 ministries and services throughout the archdiocese, which is comprised of 110 parishes in 24 counties.