Here’s the thing about the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville:
Right now, as you’re reading this, somewhere in the archdiocese someone, without any fanfare or attention, is providing a helping hand, a free meal, a chance to learn the English language — doing literally hundreds of good things — for people who need the help.
Those who are doing the good deeds are able to live their Gospel mission as a result of the funds they receive from the archdiocese’s annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA).
There was a time, not so long ago, when the Archdiocese of Louisville faced its own significant financial problems. The stain of the abuse scandal was vivid, as was the responsibility to rebuild the security and guarantee the financial future of the archdiocese after victims of clergy sexual abuse were rightfully compensated.
It didn’t take long for the people in our 24 counties and 111 parishes to respond.
A “Building a Future of Hope” campaign raised a remarkable $45 million, demonstrating both the indefatigable nature of the people of the archdiocese, but also their generosity. Perhaps most important, the success of that campaign testified to the optimism of the people of the archdiocese.
Immediately following the dark days of the scandal, the people reaffirmed their faith, their love of the local church and their essential goodness.
They have done so again in the past two years through their remarkable — that’s really the only word for it — support of the CSA campaign.
The 2014-2015 campaign was successful beyond all measure. The annual appeal raised $3,245,500 — nearly $150,000 more than its ambitious goal of $3.1 million.
This year the people of the archdiocese are proving that the CSA’s recent success is not a thing of the past.
Already, as Record staff writer Jessica Able reported last week, the CSA has raised half of its $3.25 million goal. And to put that in perspective, given the last campaign’s success, Able reports that the 2015-2016 campaign is already a quarter of a million dollars ahead of last year’s totals.
In case you missed it, Able reported that as of last Tuesday, the CSA had raised $1,732,552. This week the total is $2,078,470.
Matthew Schuhmann, coordinator of annual giving for the archdiocese’s new Office of Mission Advancement, told Able that 50 parishes have reached the halfway mark of this year’s goal. And he said that one parish, Emmanuel Church in Albany, Ky., has already met its goal.
Schuhmann noted that last year’s campaign “was the largest appeal ever, so we are on a pace to have a new largest appeal.”
The success of each CSA is the result of not only archdiocesan leadership, but also the hard work of parish pastors. Schuhmann said that this year CSA leaders and pastors “helped us come up with specific ways to reach individual parishes.”
And here’s something else: The appeal has been aided by a pledge from an anonymous donor who, in an effort to encourage new donors, has pledged $50,000 to be used to match the gifts of new donors.
This year’s bottom line is likely to set a record. It’s likely to be something that the people of the archdiocese can once again view with pride. Schuhmann noted that the CSA dollars each year are used in hundreds of ways to do what Pope Francis recently told the United Nations that we all should do. He said:
“I would ask each of you, whatever your capacity, to care for one another.”
That’s what the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville do each year through the Catholic Services Appeal.
We provide more than 100 archdiocesan offices and other agencies care for people who need our help. So, if you haven’t made your CSA pledge yet, remember the words of the pope. Be a part of another record-breaking year.
Record Editor Emeritus