FAIRPORT — Bishop Matthew H. Clark launched the Diocese of Rochester’s 2009-10 Catholic Ministries Appeal Sept. 21, asking parishioners to pull together to help meet the campaign’s $5.49 million goal, thus keeping the spirit of faith and service alive in the diocese.
“Keeping the Spirit Alive” is the theme of this year’s annual campaign, which funds ministries touching the lives of more than 314,000 Catholics in the 12-county diocese. Now in its 29th year, the appeal generates a large percentage of the diocese’s operating budget and funds ministries that aid the poor, homeless and hungry. Appeal proceeds also support local parishes as well as Catholic Charities, Catholic education and a number of programs related to such concerns as faith formation and religious vocations.
“The Catholic Ministries Appeal is about taking care of one another — family, neighbors and those in need. This year our theme is ‘Keeping the Spirit Alive,’ not only our faith in its practice, but the spirit of service in helping one another,” Bishop Clark said during the appeal’s kickoff press conference at Church of the Assumption.
This year’s goal of $5.49 million is slightly higher than last year’s campaign goal of $5.39 million. The 2008-09 appeal fell $480,000 short of its goal, netting $4.91 million for diocesan ministries. Bishop Clark acknowledged that last year’s campaign took place amid a dramatically deteriorating economy. In spite of that, however, parishioners still opened their hearts and wallets, he said, “because they realize the good that (the appeal) does, and because they realize that in tough times, some of our people need their help now more than ever.”
Bishop Clark encouraged parishioners to do the same this year.
“Every gift, large or small, helps us to keep the spirit alive,” he said.
He echoed this theme in a music video the diocese created to promote the appeal.
“All of us know and cherish the profound miracle Jesus performed with the loaves and the fishes,” Bishop Clark said in the video, which will be played at local parishes in the coming weeks. “From but a few pieces given him in generosity by a little child, Jesus fed a multitude of hungry souls. In a similar way, your gift to the Catholic Ministries Appeal is multiplied thousands of times over by your friends and neighbors.”
The video also features a cameo by Cheryl Yawman, a parishioner at Church of the Assumption and a member of the diocesan Stewardship Council.
“My family looks at our gift to the Catholic Ministries Appeal as one of gratitude for the gifts of hope, health and happiness that God has given to us,” Yawman said in the video. “I encourage each of you to look at your gift in the same way. Your support of the CMA is vital to the future of our church during these challenging times.”
There was never any doubt in her mind about whether or not to give, Yawman explained Sept. 21 at the Church of the Assumption kickoff. God gives us gifts — like those of time, talent, treasure and faith — with the expectation that we will share them, she said.
“We all have so much that we’ve been given that it’s really an obligation to give back,” she said, noting that the amount given back will vary depending on a family’s financial situation. “The important thing is to do whatever you’re able to do to return something.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on the Catholic Ministries Appeal, to view the CMA video or donate online, visit the diocesan Web site.