The Catholic Services Appeal — the Archdiocese of Louisville’s largest fundraising campaign — is just under pace of last year’s figures as October winds down. As of Oct. 21, pledges and donations totalled $1,167,827, which represents 30 percent of this year’s $3.9 million goal.
Last year’s totals, around the same time, were just over $1.37 million, about 35 percent of the same goal.
The campaign’s proceeds support more than 100 ministries and agencies of the archdiocese, including the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass, highlighted in this story, sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Family Ministries.
A new video about the Catholic Services Appeal features several other ministries, such as catechical training, formation for future priests and social outreach ministries.
One of the people featured in the video is Shelly Bogard, a regular supporter of the Sister Visitor Center, which helps meet the needs of individuals who live in the Portland, Shawnee and Russell neighborhoods of west Louisville.
Bogard became involved with Sister Visitor in 2015, when her workplace collected Christmas gifts and other personal care items for families assisted by the center.
Each year, Bogard and her colleagues have gone beyond the suggested gifts. Last Christmas, they adopted a family who had lost everything in a home fire earlier in the year. They were able to collect enough money to not only get the suggested Christmas items but to also provide six beds, mattresses and linens, Bogard said in an interview last week.
“It was awesome to see how much the mother appreciated it and to see that stress taken off of her was amazing,” she said.
Bogard knows what it’s like to not have enough money and to yearn for basic necessities.
As a child, she often went hungry, she said. It’s not that her parents didn’t provide for her and her three older siblings, she noted, it’s just that sometimes there wasn’t enough to go around.
“I understand where some people are coming from. It’s a matter of pride. That’s something I always remember when I’m shopping for them or delivering items,” said Bogard. “They are people, not a charity case and this is not a handout. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”
Throughout the year, Bogard and her coworkers occasionally host a “toilet paper war,” where they compete with other departments to see who can collect the most toilet paper to donate to Sister Visitor.
“Every person has dignity and worth. There is absolutely no reason in this world that someone should go without toilet paper. So if it comes down to donating $5 for toilet paper or eating lunch, I’m going to go hungry,” she said.
In the video, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said the voices of people like Bogard are “changing the world for the better.”
The theme of this year’s campaign — “To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us” — borrows words from Pope Francis.
In a letter to families, Archbishop Kurtz said the pope’s words challenge “us to do all we can to build up the Body of Christ in our parishes and communities by providing assistance with a generous spirit to those in need.”
He added in his video message that the support provided to the Catholic Services Appeal enables the church’s ministries to continue to do “great work.”