The results of the 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal in the Diocese of Wilmington show 9,805 donors pledged $4,298,661, surpassing the campaign’s adjusted $4,067,287 goal by 5.7 percent. The goal was adjusted last summer to reflect the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tallies were announced this week by the diocesan Office of Development, which noted collections total $4,276,151, or 99.5 percent of pledges.
Msgr. Steven P. Hurley, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the curia, said Bishop Malooly, who is recovering from cardiac bypass surgery, is grateful to those who made the campaign a priority amid such difficult financial times brought about by the pandemic.
“The bishop continues to extend prayers of thanks to the people of the Diocese of Wilmington who generously found a way to contribute, helping with the needs of others at such an unsettled time,” Msgr. Hurley said.
“Their gift enables us to continue the work of nearly three dozen ministries that help feed the hungry, counsel the afflicted, shelter the homeless, educate the young, sustain pro-life efforts and more,” he said. “They help thousands of individuals and families throughout the diocese make positive changes to improve their lives.”
In acknowledging the serious economic impact of the pandemic, Bishop Malooly in August agreed to adjust the initial goal of $4,871,000.
Deborah Fols, director of the Office of Development, said the average gift to the appeal increased to $438.42 in 2020 compared to $358.32 in 2019. The average gift was from fewer donors this past year than in 2019 campaign. While there were 14,305 people participating in 2019, the number of donors dropped to 9,805 in 2020.
The campaign’s theme, “Seeing Christ in the Faces of Others,” focused on the Christian mission to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. The theme also emphasized Pope Francis’ reminder that, “the poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Christ.”
Dollars raised through the Appeal support pastoral, educational and charitable ministries throughout Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland such as basic needs, food assistance, Seton Center, Casa San Francisco, Bayard House, Catholic schools, religious education and cultural ministries, among others. Appeal funds are the major financial source available to underwrite operating costs of these ministries.
Initially the 2020 Appeal diocesan goal was set at $4,871,000. Although the amount represented a 2 percent increase over the previous year (2019), it was below the 2019 campaign’s collections of $5,009,463.
Each year parishes are assigned goals that, collectively, total the diocesan goal.
In August, acknowledging the serious economic impact of the coronavirus on much of the nation and communities that make up the Diocese of Wilmington, Bishop Malooly agreed to lower parish goals.
At that time, 83.5% of the diocesan goal – or $4,067,287 – had been pledged. Using that as a benchmark, all parish goals were then reduced to 83.5% of their respective initial assignments.
A total of 35 parishes exceeded their adjusted goals. Parishes supporting a school receive 100 percent of over-goal collection. Parishes that do not support a school receive 50 percent of the amount collected over their goal.