Catholic Services Appeal tops goal

In the midst of a tumultuous year, the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville gave generously to the Catholic Services Appeal. The Office of Mission Advancement announced that gifts and pledges to the annual appeal exceeded its $3.9 million goal.

Molly Keene Smith, director of the Office of Mission Advancement, said surpassing this year’s goal, especially given the economic circumstances, is a testament to the people and parishes of the archdiocese.

“We wouldn’t be successful without our pastors and parish staff who did a lion’s share of the work,” Keene Smith said in an interview last week. “We appreciate all they have done to make this a success.”

To date, parishioners have pledged $3,978,410, which represents about 102% of this year’s campaign goal. The 12,428 households that have participated represent 94% of the campaign’s donor participation goal.

Melissa Herberger, coordinator of annual giving and stewardship for the Office of Mission Advancement, said the successful campaign will have a significant impact on the work of the archdiocese.

“It allows the programs and ministries supported by the CSA to continue to provide outreach in the church and community and in the surrounding community,” Herberger said. “People rely on these programs now more than ever before.”

The Catholic Services Appeal funds more than 100 ministries and programs throughout the 24 counties in the archdiocese. These include: the Tribunal office, which works on marriage annulments and dispensations; operating costs for parishes in the Southern Kentucky Missions; and parish leadership training for parish councils and staff development.

As of April 8, 64 parishes have met their CSA goals.

The top three CSA parish collections in Jefferson County are:

  • Holy Trinity, $281,994
  • St. Margaret Mary, $192,865
  • St. Bernadette, $171,697

The top three parish collections outside Jefferson County are:

  • St. Aloysius, Pewee Valley, $57,867
  • St. Dominic, Springfield, $56,865
  • St. Augustine, Lebanon, $52,439

The total number of donors this year is lower than in recent years, but the average amount of gifts has increased, said Keene Smith.

“It’s a blessing to see those who are able to give, to give more,” she said.

Many parishioners insert a note when they return their pledge cards, Keene Smith noted.

“Several have said things like ‘I’m giving because I can this year; I know a lot of people who are struggling,’ ” she said.

Some are only able to send in a few dollars, but note they are praying for the success of the campaign and for people aided by the funds.

“It’s not about the amount you give,” Keene Smith said. “Those types of notes mean so much. There are a lot of heartfelt messages with the gifts this year.”

CSA pledge cards that are mailed to each household in the archdiocese are accompanied by a request for the recipient to send in their prayer intentions. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz selects several of these cards each day and prays for those intentions in his daily prayers.

“It brings people a sense of peace and comfort to know other people are praying for you,” Keene Smith said.

A special focus this year, Herberger noted, was to encourage increased giving by members of the Salt & Light Giving Society, a group of donors who give $500 or more to the CSA. An anonymous donor pledged to match any increase over last year’s gift, up to $50,000. This year, there are 2,094 donors whose contributions qualified them for the society. There are 446 new Salt & Light donors this year and 770 of last year’s Salt & Light donors increased their gift this year.

Looking to next year, staff of the Mission Advancement office said they will place special focus on attracting first-time donors to the appeal. During the current campaign, 432 donors gave to the CSA for the first time.

“One of our goals for next year is to engage and encourage first-time givers. The amount doesn’t matter, make whatever gift you can,” she said.

The appeal officially wraps up at the end of June 2021. To learn more, visit archlou.org/CSA.

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