2015 Annual Catholic Appeal Surpasses Its Goal
‘Once again, our people have shown their willingness to share their resources,’ Says Bishop Malooly
More than 15,000 Catholics pledged more than $4.5 million as the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal once again surpassed its target to help support more than 30 ministries and offices operated by the Diocese of Wilmington.
As the campaign closed its books on Jan. 8, collections stood at $4,358,895, or 100.27 percent of the goal of $4,347,000.
The Annual Catholic Appeal is vital to diocesan operations since it is one of only two primary sources of income. The other is parish assessments.
Theme for the 2015 campaign was: “He Reveals Himself in the Breaking of the Bread.” Bishop Malooly had noted that the reference to the Eucharist shows that Jesus shared the bread and a meal with the disciples, a sharing that continues in the Mass today.
“Once again our people have shown their willingness to share their resources, reflecting how Jesus shared himself with the Apostles at the Last Supper,” the bishop said. “I continue to be humbled by their charity to the diocese, and through the diocese’s work to the needy of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. People are in need physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and the work we share in strives to meet those needs.”
Donors’ contributions are especially impressive, he said, since many of those giving to the Annual Catholic Appeal are also fulfilling pledges made to Sustaining Hope for the Future, a capital campaign that surpassed its goal of $28 million. That campaign strengthened the priests’ retirement fund, stabilized the Lay Employee Pension Plan for many past and current diocesan employees, will help stabilize diocesan ministries, and funded a variety of parish projects.
Don Kyle of St. Luke-St. Andrew Parish in Ocean City, Md., said he and his wife, Lynne, understand that the goals of each campaign are different and that both need their support.
“Because we strongly support Catholic education, we feel it is critical that we secure the pension plan for lay teachers and the retirement fund for retired priests,” Kyle said. “We have complete confidence in Bishop Malooly in his belief that Sustaining Hope for the Future will accomplish those goals while the Annual Catholic Appeal helps to support Catholic Charities and Pro-Life activities, which are two other ministries that are very important to us.” The Kyles are Circle of Honor members of the Annual Catholic Appeal.
Another Circle of Honor member, Robert DeSantis of St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville, said the Appeal provides him a chance to show his gratitude “for what God has given me.”
“I recognize that the Annual Catholic Appeal is critical to the church’s programs,” said DeSantis, who serves as his parish’s appeal coordinator. “Bishop Malooly and my pastor have made clear their need, and I feel compelled to help. … I understand the role I now play in ensuring they continue to thrive.”
Among the highlights of the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal:
- The average gift increased by $9.08, from $283.85 in 2014 to $292.93 in 2015. Pledges were received from 15,450 households.
- Circle of Honor donor gifts of $500 or more were received from 2,576 members. Pledges given by these benefactors totaled $2,819,278 representing 62.3 percent of total pledges.
- The number of parishes over targeted pledges was 39; the number of parishes over target in collections was 33. Parishes that support a school and exceed the assigned goal in collections receives 100 percent of the overage; parishes that do not support a school receive 50 percent of the collected overage.
- Fifty-four clergy gifts were received totaling $54,845 and representing an average gift of $1,015.65.
- The collection rate of 96.3 percent of pledges increased slightly from the previous year’s 95.8 percent.