Having reached more than 83.5 percent of its goal, the 2019-20 Catholic Ministries Appeal is introducing fresh initiatives to close the remaining gap before the campaign ends May 31.
A “Text to Give” option recently was made available for anyone wishing to make a CMA donation via mobile phone. Those interested may text “CMA” to 585-257-2929 and then follow prompts. You can also find more information at https://www.dor.org/giving/text-to-give/.
In addition, an in-church effort will take place selected weekends in March and April in parishes that have not yet reached their CMA goals. Known as “Fruit of the Vine,” the effort is based on this year’s CMA theme of “I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches.” Participating parishes across the Diocese of Rochester will offer parishioners the choice of contributing with special envelopes or via Text to Give.
According to Colleen Brade, campaign coordinator, commitments for the 2019-20 CMA as of March 6 totaled $5.618 million, or 83.54 percent of an overall goal of $6.725 million. Brade expressed hope that Fruit of the Vine will repeat the success of a similar late-campaign CMA push in 2018-19.
“It really jump-started those efforts for parishes that were saying, ‘We’ve got to get to our goal.’ Several parishes hit their goal after that,” Brade said, adding that a total of $6.294 million was raised from last year’s CMA, marking the second-highest total in the history of the campaign, which dates back to 1981.
Brade observed the 2019-20 CMA faced a sizable challenge, having begun last fall just weeks after the Rochester Diocese filed on Sept. 12 for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. That action was taken by Bishop Salvatore R. Matano in response to numerous clergy sexual-abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese after New York’s Child Victims Act went into effect last August.
Nevertheless, Brade said the 2019-20 CMA has garnered nearly the same level of pledges that had been committed by this point last year.
“I think we’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Brade said, acknowledging that “we really didn’t know (when the campaign was launched) how it would be received.”
“People really rose to the occasion to continue the mission of the church,” added Doug Mandelaro, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Communications. “We’re just beyond grateful that they understand the need for ministries in this time of challenge.”
Brade noted that the average CMA gift has increased substantially, rising from $247 in 2018-19 to $272 in the current campaign. Yet she also emphasized that donations of all sizes, large or small, are vital to the campaign’s success.
CMA proceeds fund more than half of the $11.9 million diocesan budget, fully or partially supporting programs, ministries and services parishes would struggle to afford on their own.
Brade also emphasized that no CMA campaign contributions are being used for the settlement of legal cases.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Donations to the CMA can be made online at www.dor.org/cma. The website also contains a CMA promotional video, answers to frequently asked questions, an annual report and a breakdown of CMA allocations. For other CMA-related details, contact Colleen Brade at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or email@example.com.