The results of the Diocese of Wilmington’s 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal are the highest amounts pledged and collected in the campaign’s 43-year history.
The Diocesan Development Office reported this week that the $5,326,910 pledged by Catholics in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland surpassed the appeal’s $4.6 million goal by 13.79 percent.
Donations received, totaling $5,211,197 of the amount pledged to the appeal, are also a campaign record, surpassing the target by $529,697. This is the second straight year the appeal topped more than $5 million in donations.
Bishop Malooly, noting the “Disciples of Christ, Witnesses of Faith” theme of the 2018 appeal, said, “This generous response of Catholics to help their neighbors in need by supporting the appeal is deeply gratifying.
“Our parishioners’ historic level of giving is a wonderful way to witness the diocese’s 150 years of ministry and service to God’s people in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore.”
The development office also noted that 51 of the diocese’s 56 parishes exceeded the assigned appeal goal in their collections. Parishes that support a school receive 100 percent of the amount collected over their goal. Parishes that aren’t supporting a school receive half of the overage.
This year, $457,000 will be returned by the Appeal to parishes and used to defray ministry and capital costs.
Clergy donations to the appeal were up by $1,824 or 2.69 percent. Their 49 gifts totaled $69,396.
Msgr. David Kelley, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Middletown, said parishioner donations exceeded their target, so half of the money over the goal will go to St. Joseph’s support for the regional Christ the Teacher School, and the rest will “go into our budget as income where it will help pay the mortgage on the church.”
Msgr. Kelley said St. Joseph’s parishioners “have been very generous,” and the folks who make donations to the Annual Catholic Appeal “are Catholics who are involved enough in the parish that they have a sense the parish can’t do all its jobs without the assistance of the diocese.”
Middletown’s Catholics donate their time and treasure “with a generosity that’s remarkable, helping in a way they particularly can in day-to-day ministries,” Msgr. Kelley said. “They have a generosity of heart.”
Joseph Newdeck, the appeal coordinator at St. Helena Parish in Wilmington, agrees that many donors there appreciate what diocesan ministries do.
“Most parishioners recognize the great work that the diocese is able to do and, as a result, the parishioners offer financial support to the appeal,” he said.
Newdeck sees the diocese as helping parishes “provide a safety net for those who need food and shelter. It’s an opportunity to provide support for people in need.”
St. Helena met its appeal goal again this year, which “is actually kind of surprising because times are tough,” Newdeck said.
St. Helena’s pastor, Msgr. Stanley Russell, always presents the appeal’s message during a Sunday Mass, Newdeck said. Such “leadership from the pulpit” and Bishop Malooly’s message “always puts the appeal in a spiritual context.”
Circle of Honor gifts of $500 and above to the appeal this year increased to 3,259 donors, which meant 146 more members in the “leadership gift” group than in 2017.
Dr. Richard M. Quinn, a retired pediatric dentist, and his wife, Patricia, active members of Holy Cross Church in Dover since 1977, have helped in parish ministries and fundraising efforts since 1977. They have been members of the appeal’s Circle of Honor since 1993.
“We believed it was important after the settlement of the sexual abuse crisis [in 2011] to maintain the charities that the church supports,” Richard said. He appreciates diocesan ministries, such as helping migrant laborers and “it’s important to maintain those priorities.”
The Quinns served as Holy Cross Parish co-chairs of the diocesan Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign that started in 2013 and they were also active participants years earlier in the fundraising that built the parish’s “new” church.
“We want to do our share,” said Richard, who noted his wife taught Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes at Holy Cross for 17 years. “As long as the (five) kids were under our wing, we were happy to pass on the faith. All of our kids are still involved,” not to mention the Quinns’ 18 grandchildren.
As for the appeal, “there’s definitely a yearly need to do it,” Quinn said. “We’re so much in favor of the things the diocese supports. It evangelizes in a way when the community sees all the things the parishes and diocese supports.”
Deborah Fols, head of the diocesan Development Office that spearheads the Annual Catholic Appeal, thanked the many parish volunteers and the diocesan clergy for their work ensuring the appeal’s ongoing success.
“The generosity of the people of this diocese, their willingness to show their love for the church and mercy for those in need is what makes the appeal a continued success,” Fols said.
“Contributing to this success is the support of our priests and also the parish lay leadership who demonstrate true stewardship by giving unselfishly of their gifts of time, talent and treasure.”