Appeal: 2015 Goal set at $4.3 Million to help Diocesan Ministries
Annual Catholic Appeal helps diocese serve the most vulnerable
Fritz Jones knows quite well the impact the Annual Catholic Appeal makes for “the most vulnerable” people living in Delaware and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
As director of program operations for Catholic Charities, he oversees a broad range of services provided by offices and agencies located throughout the diocese.
“It is through the support we receive from the Annual Catholic Appeal that we can continue to support the homeless, the hungry, individuals who live in chronic poverty, without charge,” Jones said. “The Annual Catholic Appeal allows us to make sliding fee scales available for persons struggling with mental illness, families dealing with communication issues, and families seeking unification through immigration, who cannot afford the full cost of our services.”
Jones and officials in more than 35 diocesan offices and ministries once again are relying on Catholics on the Delmarva Peninsula to help them show God’s love and compassion to the people they serve. A goal of $4,347,000 has been set for the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal.
Commitment Weekend will be held in all parishes on April 18-19.
“He Reveals Himself … in the Breaking of the Bread” is the theme for this year’s campaign. Bishop Malooly believes that theme coincides well with the intent of the church’s ministries.
“All of our efforts supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal seek to reveal God’s love to today’s world, just as God revealed himself after the Resurrection to the disciples on the road to Emmaus – and continues to reveal himself to us today at every Mass – through the breaking of the bread,” the bishop said.
“For those who find themselves in crisis situations, the appeal helps provide a helping hand, providing thousands of meals each year to the hungry; shelter to the homeless; care to the aged, the handicapped, the addicted, and the emotionally afflicted. The appeal also helps to provide religious instruction to eager minds, sponsors wholesome activities for our youth, prepares couples for marriage, welcomes the newly arrived on our shores, makes chaplains available in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, and enables ordained deacons to assist the priests in their service to God’s people.”
This year’s goal was frozen for the second straight year in light of Sustaining Hope for the Future, a successful $28 million campaign conducted in 2013 and 2014 to help the diocese get back on its feet, financially, from the 2011 bankruptcy court agreement that settled 150 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits against the diocese. Pledges to Sustaining Hope are payable over a three-year period. That campaign provides funds to strengthen the priests’ retirement fund, stabilize the Lay Employee Pension Plan for many past and current diocesan employees, help sustain diocesan ministries, and fund various projects at the parish level.
Bishop Malooly acknowledged that freezing the appeal goal presents a challenge to offices and ministries trying to meet all of the needs in the diocese, but has said, “We do not want to overwhelm those who support us so generously.”
Father James Nash, pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Easton, Md., is the clergy chair for the 2015 Appeal. In that post he, on behalf of the bishop, solicits support for the Appeal from his fellow priests.
“I think as priests we realize the immense need for the success of the Annual Catholic Appeal because we can see in our daily ministry the ways in which those funds assist so many in the diocese,” Father Nash said. “I know my brother priests are willing to support the Appeal to the best of their ability and we hope and pray that others will do the same.”
The Annual Catholic Appeal is one of two major sources of money for diocesan offices and ministries, according to Deborah Fols, who heads the Office of Development. The other is an annual parish assessment.
Fols is confident the people of the diocese will once again surpass the goal, noting that every campaign conducted in the diocese has succeeded. Last year’s campaign totaled $4,728,877 in pledges.
Some of the money raised will help provide for the religious education and formation of parishioners, said Lou De Angelo, superintendent of schools who also is interim director of religious education. “The religious education of young people is of principal importance,” he said, but the office also supports adolescent and adult education.
While the Office for Religious Education focuses internally on the church, Catholic Charities of Wilmington reaches out into the community, helping serve those in need in our time just as Christ served those in need in his time.
“For 185 years, Catholic Charities has provided caring service to the most vulnerable of our communities, regardless of whether we received payment for services,” Fritz Jones said.
He expects the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal will help Catholic Charities continue that tradition of service.