By Glenn Rutherford, Record Editor
So it just might be that your personal invitation from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz to be a part of this year’s Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) was lost, misplaced, hidden from view where it is out of sight and out of mind.
And that’s where “in the pew” weekend comes into play.
During Masses all across the Archdiocese of Louisville — in each of the archdiocese’s 111 parishes — parishioners will find in their pews information about this year’s CSA and, most importantly, pledge cards to allow them to pledge or contribute to this year’s campaign.
The CSA goal this time is $3 million, a bit more than last year’s $2.75 million, a goal which was not only met but surpassed by a bit.
But that was last year, and Ann Marie Kelly, coordinator of annual giving for the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Stewardship and Development, wants everyone to remember that the needs of the archdiocese and all of its ministries are constant and continuing. They don’t disappear after one financial campaign — successful though it was.
Money for all the archdiocesan programs and ministries is needed this year every bit as much as in the past.
“I think the pew weekend gives people a chance to participate not just monetarily, but also in a prayerful way,” Kelly noted. “It’s there during Mass. And plenty of people who go to Mass every day or every weekend aren’t registered in a parish, so they might not have received the letter from the archbishop.
“ ‘In the pew’ weekend is now for them, and for those people who did receive the letter and, for whatever reason, put it on the back burner,” she said.
The weekend also is an opportunity for those who might not make a donation to the campaign to nevertheless hear about the good news and good programs that are continuing or being developed for use in the archdiocese.
Kelly noted that the CSA funds just about every aspect of ministry in the archdiocese — from parish catechists to seminary education and everything in between.
“In any kind of fund raising you always want to toot your own horn a bit when you make your goal,” Kelly noted, “but even though we made last year’s goal, there are always people we can’t serve because we can’t get enough funding. There are plenty of people out there who have a need and it is always our calling to serve them. So we want to say thanks to people who helped us meet last year’s goal, but we also want to point out that there’s still a need.”
And even if checks can’t be written immediately, this weekend provides “a good chance to talk about what’s happening as a result of CSA support.”
“If you can’t make a donation for whatever reason, this weekend you can still hear about the good news of what’s happening in the diocese, and you also have the opportunity to support the CSA’s efforts with your prayers,” she added.
“We call for parishes to pray for the appeal, especially during ‘in the pew’ weekend,” Kelly noted. (Nicholas Eve, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, said the first “in the pew” weekend occurred in 2005.)
In some parishes, a church member will offer testimony this weekend about all of the good the CSA does. In others, parish lay leaders speak about the success they’ve seen their parish experience as a result of the CSA, Kelly explained. “Every pastor does it differently, and it’s up to their discretion as to how they approach the weekend.”
This year’s campaign has already raised $533,750 (as of Oct. 11 — a new total can be seen in an entry on the left side of page one in this week’s edition of The Record.)
“That total represents more than 10 percent of our goal and is a little bit ahead of where we were last year,” Kelly said. “That’s a very good sign and it’s good to see because it means that people are hearing the good news and understanding the need.”
But it’s worth remembering, she said, as the CSA campaign proceeds through the next three months that “if you doubled the goal and reached it, all the funds would be put to good use. There wouldn’t be anything ‘left over.’ ”