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Diocese of Wilmington 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal: ‘Big ask’ for great needs

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The $4,871,000 goal of this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal would be a “big ask” under any economic conditions.

However, in 2021 at the start of the second year of a pandemic when the nation’s employment rate has dropped and the hardships of the needy have increased, the Diocese of Wilmington’s hope for parishioners’ generosity to the Appeal is as great as it’s ever been.

For 45 years, the Appeal has embodied the charity of parishioners in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland who support “the Church’s mission to provide essential funding to areas of greatest need,” Bishop Malooly wrote in a letter to Appeal donors this month.

Support for the Appeal “provides thousands of meals each year to the hungry; shelter to the homeless; care for the aged, the handicapped, the addicted, and the emotionally afflicted,” the bishop wrote.

Appeal donations, Bishop Malooly added, help provide religious instruction to eager minds, wholesome activities for our youth, prepare couples for marriage, welcome the newly arrived to our shores, promote protection of unborn life and human rights, make chaplains available in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, and enable ordained deacons to assist priests in their ministries.

More than 30 ministries

All programs, more than 30 ministries aided by the Appeal, are in service to this year’s theme “Disciples of Christ, Witnesses of Hope.”

Deborah Fols, director of the Diocesan Development Office, said that in recognition of the financial strains faced by many parishioners throughout the diocese, this year’s diocesan goal is the same as the original goal of the 2020 campaign.

“Certainly $4.8 million is a big ‘ask,’ but the needs of our people, especially in a time of continued economic challenge, is even greater.”

In light of the harsh impact of the pandemic amidst last year’s Appeal, Bishop Malooly lowered the 2020 goal to $4,067,287. That adjusted target was surpassed by 5.7 percent with pledges totaling $4,298,661.

“That was significant,” Fols said, noting the decades of generosity of donors in the diocese. “The Appeal exceeded the modified goal and a number of parishes exceeded their adjusted goal as well.”

“Appeal gifts help the diocese provide ministries and programs that no one parish can offer on its own,” Fols said.

Also, at least 50 percent of contributions received beyond a parish’s Appeal target is returned to the parish to defray its ministry and capital costs, Fols said. Parishes that operate or support a school receive 100 percent of their over-target contributions.

Fols said the 2021 campaign will rely heavily during current pandemic circumstances on getting its message out through parishes and social media.

“The needs are certainly great this year, but the Appeal answers the same call every year, our ongoing Christian mission to be ‘Disciples of Christ, Witnesses of Hope’ to all of God’s people,” Fols said.

More information

— Parishioners are encouraged to view a brief video featuring seven Appeal supported ministries at www.cdow.org/annualcatholicappeal

— Many parishioners have received a direct mail correspondence and information about the Annual Catholic Appeal from Bishop Malooly. Others will soon receive an information packet from their respective pastor. Enclosed in each packet is a pledge card and return envelope which can be used to make a contributions.

— Donors can also contribute going to the Appeal website at www.cdow.org/annualcatholicappeal and clicking “How to Donate” or by calling the diocesan development office at 302-573-3120.

Contact Deborah Fols, diocesan development director, at 302-573-3120 or dfols@cdow.org, for more answers to questions about the Annual Catholic Appeal.