Coming off its most successful campaign in history, the Catholic Ministries Appeal is aiming even higher as a new campaign gets underway.
CMA proceeds go toward fully or partially funding programs, services and ministries throughout the 12-county Diocese of Rochester. The 2015-16 campaign was scheduled to kick off in late September with letters going out to households of all registered diocesan parishioners, followed by parish promotion and solicitation throughout the fall.
This year’s CMA theme is "We Are All One Body." In his letter to diocesan households, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano acknowledged that slogan by stating, "These words seek to remind us that we are all part of a larger church that transcends personal and parish boundaries. … As Christian stewards, each of us is challenged to use the abundance with which we have been blessed to serve one another and help build the kingdom of God."
With a campaign goal of $6.175 million, this marks the first time the CMA’s target amount has exceeded $6 million and is 3 percent higher than last year’s goal of $5.99 million. The 2014-15 campaign, which concluded this past May 31, raised 95 percent of its goal, ending up with $5.67 million.
"People were very, very generous around the diocese," said David Kelly, CMA campaign coordinator.
Begun in 1981 by Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark as the Thanks Giving Appeal, the Catholic Ministries Appeal supports more than half the diocesan budget, which Kelly said this year is set at $11 million.
CMA proceeds fund such initiatives and entities as faith formation for children and adults; Catholic schools; sacramental preparation; youth, young-adult and campus ministries; 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 the pope and bishop; and diocesan Pastoral Center operations and services.
A new campaign video — which will be shown in diocesan parishes and may also be viewed at www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/annual-appeal/ — features many people who are positively affected by CMA funding, such as parishioners receiving sacraments; newly ordained priests; Catholic-school students and teachers; those served by prison and campus ministries; and a developmentally disabled boy who receives Catholic Charities services.
Kelly noted that the average CMA contribution last year averaged out to an all-time high of $198 per household, with 50 of 94 parishes reaching their diocesan-assigned quotas. Nearly 29,000 donors in all contributed to the campaign.
"I think we’re seeing parishes put an increased emphasis on supporting the Catholic Ministries Appeal, and parishioners are responding," he said.
On the other hand, Kelly is hoping for a higher level of parishioner participation in order to reach this year’s goal, noting that only 28 percent of diocesan households contributed to the 2014-15 CMA.
"One of the goals of this campaign is to get all families to participate," he said. "We want people to understand that when we pool together our resources we can provide more services and ministries."
Kelly explained that the CMA serves to fund "those things an individual parish might not be able to do on its own" — ministries that aren’t covered by regular Sunday collections. He also noted the immense good that stems from CMA funding, pointing out, for instance, that Catholic Charities helps some 250,000 people across the diocese.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Catholic Ministries Appeal gifts may be made by mail, using parish-provided envelopes or online securely at http://www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/give-online/. Checks, credit cards, electronic-fund transfers and appreciated securities are all accepted. Pledges are tax deductible. For further information, contact David Kelly, diocesan CMA coordinator, at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or email@example.com.