The campaign’s theme is “Do You Love Me? Feed My Sheep,” taken from Jesus’ command to Peter in John 21:15-19. The Annual Catholic Appeal is a major source of income for more than 30 ministries operated by the Diocese of Wilmington.
“Each year, the Annual Catholic Appeal blesses us with the opportunity to reach out to people in our community who are in great need,” Bishop Malooly said.
“Through your support, the Diocese of Wilmington provides 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 bishop said. “It helps to provide religious instruction to eager minds, sponsor wholesome activities for our youth, prepare couples for marriage, welcome the newly arrived on our shores, make 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 reflects a 3 percent increase above the 2012 goal of $4,220,300. Last year’s effort generated pledges of $4,602,185; collections totaled $4,409,037.
“The diocese, in support of its mission, could really use more than the $4,347,000 goal,” said Deborah Fols, director of development who oversees the campaign. She said Bishop Malooly sought a “challenging but achievable” goal that took into account economic and other obligations of donors.
“The success of the Annual Catholic Appeal is critical to the continuation of the ministries and services that it helps support,” Fols said. “Without that money, we would not be able to continue all those ministries.”
The diocese has only one other major source of income, an annual assessment of parishes.
Individual parish goals were set last week by the deans of the diocese’s seven deaneries (geographic subdivisions of parishes). Parishes where collections exceed the goal receive a percentage of the excess. Those that do not sponsor a Catholic school receive 50 percent of the overage; those that do receive 100 percent.
Between now and April 13-14, parishes will build their local leadership teams as the diocese illustrates some of the works funded by the campaign through a series of articles in The Dialog.
Also, Bishop Malooly will host four meetings with members of the Circle of Honor, who have donated $500 or more to previous campaigns. Almost 2,500 people donated $500 or more to the 2012 campaign, accounting for almost 60 percent of the total pledged even though they accounted for just 14 percent of the more than 17,000 total donors.
In the end, Bishop Malooly said the success of the 2013 Annual Catholic Appeal rests with individual Catholics finding a way to meet Jesus’ command to Peter in modern times, including contributions to the Annual Catholic Appeal to help provide the diocese’s umbrella of ministries.
In a letter planned for distribution to parishioners later in the campaign, Bishop Malooly said that “Jesus calls each of us to be his fellow shepherd, caring for, guiding, leading and feeding his flock.”