Catholics received more than 100 hours of liturgy formation classes. More than 300 couples received marriage preparation. Four hundred people attended the archdiocesan Black Catholic Congress. More than 8,000 individuals received emergency rent and food assistance. And 529 refugees received assistance from Catholic Charities.
This litany of services and dozens of others were provided in the Archdiocese of Louisville in the last year. They were funded by donations to the Catholic Services Appeal. The 2018 appeal, the fundraiser’s 51st year, seeks to raise $3.9 million.
The annual appeal is the largest fund-raising campaign of the archdiocese.
Last year the campaign yielded $4.1 million — a record amount for the appeal. The figure was $350,000 more than the original $3.75 million goal.
Organizers of the 2018 Catholic Services Appeal hope those considering a gift to the annual campaign will call to mind a passage from Pope Francis’ exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), where the pontiff calls on individuals to be “saints next door.”
This phrase is the theme of the 2018 campaign. In the exhortation released earlier this year, Pope Francis calls on the faithful to reflect on opportunities for holiness in our day-to-day lives.
The Holy Father writes, “We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.
“Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward,” he writes.
Sarah Wunderlin, director of annual giving for the Office of Mission Advancement, said the appeal is an opportunity for the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville to live out Pope Francis’ call to be “saints next door.”
“We are not only appreciative of the support you give to the appeal, but also of the ways in which we are all called to be ‘saints next door’ everyday,” she said.
Supporting the Catholic Services Appeal, she said, is a way to put the words of Pope Francis into concrete action.
“All the ministries supported by the CSA — whether it’s helping those who are the most vulnerable, support families or youth or seniors — when you are supporting them you are answering that call,” she said.
An envelope with an invitation from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and information about the ministries supported by the appeal will arrive in parishioners’ mailboxes next week. It will also include a prayer intention card, which parishioners are encouraged to fill out and submit even if they don’t contribute to the appeal.
Parishioners can expect to learn more information about the appeal at Masses the weekend of Oct. 13 and 14.
Appeal materials, including posters, brochures and envelopes, are available in Spanish.
Donations, as in years past, may be made by mail, collection basket or online at archlou.org. In addition, the Office of Mission Advancement launched a new way for people to contribute to the Catholic Services Appeal.
Text the phrase CSA2018 to 41411 and instructions will prompt you to complete your donation.
“We hope to make it easier on donors who might not want to give credit card information or who do not carry a checkbook but still would like to give securely,” Wunderlin said.
The text-to-give option, she said, is a way to engage younger Catholics.
“They may not always have a checkbook on them but they’ll probably always have a smartphone on them,” she said.
To learn more or to make a donation, visit www.archlou.org/csa. The site includes a video featuring several ministries that receive support from the appeal.