The 2012 Annual Catholic Appeal set a new record with collections topping $4.4 million for the first time in the campaign’s 37-year history, the diocesan Development Office announced this week.
Collections totaled $4,409,037 at the campaign’s close on January 11, representing 104.5 percent of the $4,220,300 diocesan target. The campaign generated pledges of $4,602,185 from 17,154 participants, 26 percent of the constituents registered in the diocese 57 parishes and Korean Catholic Community.
The average gift was $268.29, an increase of $15.21 over the previous year.
Support of Circle of Honor donors, those who contribute gifts of $500 or more remained strong with 2,470 members contributing 58.4 percent of the campaign’s revenue.
Contributions of nearly $50,000 were received from 64 members of the clergy for an average gift of $777. First-time donors numbering 1,538 contributed $254,834, an amount representing 5.5 percent of the total dollars pledged.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of concern and generosity by the good people of this diocese,” Bishop Malooly said. “Their support of the Annual Catholic Appeal enables our church to provide people in need with not only life’s material essentials but also, and most importantly, with the spiritual and emotional assistance, religious instruction and the guidance we all need in coping with life’s challenges.
“I am also grateful for the committed leadership and support demonstrated by our priests and the lay leadership of our parishes.”
Parishioners of 38 parishes and the Korean Catholic Community made gifts in excess of their parish’s campaign target. Parishes that top their goal receive rebates – 50 percent of the excess to parishes that do not support a school and 100 percent of the excess to those that do.
Contributions to the Appeal help support more than 30 ministries in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, many that serve people with medical, emotional, spiritual, educational and financial needs.
“The Annual Catholic Appeal is a significant source of funding for the ministries of Catholic Charities,” said Richelle Vible, executive director of Catholic Charities for the diocese. “Essential programs such as mental health counseling for uninsured clients, room and board for residents of our shelter programs Bayard House and Casa San Francisco, financial assistance to keep families safely housed, food distributions for the hungry, financial coaching sessions to help households become economically self-sufficient are all supported by donations through the Annual Catholic Appeal.”
The Annual Catholic Appeal also funds educational ministries in parishes including Catholic elementary schools and parish religious education programs, as well as offers assistance to Catholic high schools (St. Mark’s, St. Elizabeth, Padua Academy, St. Thomas More Academy and Ss. Peter and Paul). Pastoral services funded by the campaign include chaplains in hospitals and facilities for the aged and infirmed as well as Hispanic Ministry and the offices of Pro-Life Activities and Marriage and Family Life.
“The service of the diocese to parishes and Catholic institutions are like the legs on a table: they are essential, yet largely go unnoticed by those who benefit by them,” said Father Timothy Nolan, pastor of Corpus Christi, who also serves as Vicar for Priests and Appeal Clergy Chairman. “The Appeal is important for us to help support the diocesan services that in turn support our parishes and programs. We know that a table with weak legs will not support much weight, so when we give generously to the Appeal, we in turn strengthen the diocese’s ability to offer greater support for all of us in promoting the ministry of the church.”
A participant of the Annual Catholic Appeal since 1995, Gary James, a parishioner of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Ocean City, Md., said, “The Appeal is important to me personally because I know that my donation will be used to help individuals and families within our area of the diocese. My wife and I have always believed in giving back to the community. When we look at the bishop’s brochure each year that describes all the ways the Appeal is helping others, we feel that our donations are being used in ways we believe in. It is important for the Appeal to be successful so that as many needy individuals and families as possible can be helped.”
Details of the 2013 Annual Catholic Appeal will be announced in February. Commitment Weekend is scheduled for April 13-14.