It’s time for the Annual Appeal

By Catholic New World
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Parishes across the Archdiocese of Chicago will have some extra money in their coffers this year as the Annual Catholic Appeal for 2013 wraps up and the 2014 appeal gets started.

Last year’s appeal, in which Catholics were asked to support the archdiocese in a variety of ministries, generated $4.3 million in rebates to local parishes. That’s the most ever since the appeal has followed this format, starting in 2006, according to Barbara Shea Collins, director of development services/Annual Catholic Appeal.

That money was generated by parishes that collected money over and above their targets, which are generally set at 6 percent of their regular annual income.

Overall, about two-thirds of the archdiocese’s 356 parishes met their goals and received at least a small rebate, Collins said, in a year in which the archdiocese collected $16.3 million in contributions and $17.5 million in pledges.

Some parishes now have enough positive history with the appeal that they are using it as a parish fundraiser and making plans for what to do with their rebates, Collins said.

“Many parishes are really starting to get the drift of this,” she said. “Many small parishes, too. They can raise way over their goals, and then they budget what they want to do with their rebates.”

This year’s appeal, with the theme “You are the Temple of God,” kicked off with commitment weekend Feb. 22-23, when parishioners were asked to fill out pledge envelopes during Mass. People who didn’t pledge during commitment weekend will be reminded to on the following weekend, March 1-2. Those who pledge will get reminders to make payments over the course of the year.

Money from the Annual Catholic Appeal that is not rebated to parishes helps support struggling Catholic schools and parishes, religious education programs and ministry formation, initiatives to foster respect for life, as well as those that promote peace and justice. Through its support of Catholic Relief Services, the appeal serves people worldwide, without regard for religious affiliation, whose lives are devastated by natural disasters, illnesses, wars and famines.

Collins said she continues to be inspired by the response to the appeal.

“The people in the archdiocese care about each other like it’s a small town,” she said. “They don’t have to be in their own backyard. If the cardinal asks, they respond.”

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