With a theme of "Raised in Christ," the 36th-annual diocesan Catholic Ministries Appeal is kicking off its 2016-17 campaign on the heels of last year’s record-breaking effort.
The annual appeal has set a goal of $6.35 million for 2016-17, according to David Kelly, campaign manager. Proceeds will go toward fully or partially supporting programs, services and ministries around the 12-county Diocese of Rochester.
Set to run through May 31, 2017, this year’s CMA aims to build on the success of the 2015-16 campaign, which garnered a total of $6.035 million in contributions. That marked the first time donations to the CMA have topped the $6 million mark. It was also the first time that the average gift exceeded $200.
"We are grateful that so many generous families across our diocese chose to support the Catholic Ministries Appeal last year. Their overwhelming support resulted in a record year for contributions that provided much-needed funding for the ministries and programs that truly make a difference in our local church," Kelly said. "We pray that this spirit of giving will continue in this year’s appeal."
Letters announcing the CMA kickoff were mailed in mid-September to the homes of more than 100,000 registered parishioners. A video — which will be shown in diocesan parishes and can be viewed along with other CMA-related information at www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/annual-appeal — features an introduction to the campaign by two recently ordained diocesan priests, Fathers Justin Miller (ordained in 2016) and Peter VanLieshout (2014). They note that CMA funding provides crucial support to more than 300,000 diocesan Catholics including themselves, with CMA contributions having helped toward their seminary expenses. The video concludes with Abby Celso — a member of Irondequoit’s St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish and a 2016 finalist on the national television show "The Voice" — singing the popular inspirational song "You Raise Me Up."
CMA proceeds fund more than half the diocesan budget, going toward such programs as faith formation for children and adults; Catholic schools; sacramental preparation; youth, young-adult and campus ministries; diocesan Catholic Charities and its 10 regional offices and agencies; information technology; chaplaincies; social-ministry initiatives; support of priests, deacons, pastoral leaders and vocations, including formation and education through St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry; parish support ministries; ministries of Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops and Rochester Bishop Salvatore R. Matano; and diocesan Pastoral Center operations and services. Many of the services supported by CMA could not otherwise be easily afforded by parishes on their own, Kelly noted.
Contributions to the CMA may be made by mail using parish-provided envelopes, or online at www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/give-online. Checks (made payable to the Catholic Ministries Appeal), credit cards, electronic-fund transfers and appreciated securities are all accepted. Pledges are tax deductible. For further information, contact Kelly at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or firstname.lastname@example.org.