Diocesan appeal's goal is $5.3 million

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier    |    10.06.2004
Category: Local News


"Sharing Our Blessings ... and Changing Lives Forever” is the theme of the 2004-05 Thanks Giving Appeal. Parishioners throughout the diocese are urged to share their blessings by donating to the appeal, which kicked off in mid-September with a goal of $5.3 million.

Each year the appeal, which began in 1981, serves as the primary source of fundraising for the diocese, providing nearly 50 percent of its annual budget. The 2002-03 TGA raised nearly $4.6 million. There was no separate TGA last year, as the appeal was rolled into the diocesan Partners In Faith capital campaign, which raised nearly $56 million and exceeded its goal by 10 percent.

“Our people responded magnificently and with great enthusiasm to that appeal in a very difficult time,” said Bishop Matthew H. Clark, noting the capital campaign was launched at a time of poor economic conditions and sexual-abuse scandal within the church. “I think it says beautiful things about the Catholic community. That campaign succeeded solely and simply because our people are committed to our faith, and to its works.”

While the Partners In Faith capital campaign focused largely on physical needs in the diocese -- such as the renovation of Sacred Heart Cathedral and the construction of the new St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry -- the TGA focuses less on “bricks and mortar” and more on the ministries and services that are the lifeblood of the diocese.

Several changes have been made to the TGA since the 2002-03 campaign. New this year is a series of informational receptions -- hosted by Bishop Clark -- intended to help potential donors learn more about the diocesan ministries and services that the TGA supports. Beginning in mid-September, these receptions were held in Rochester, Brighton, Canandaigua and Horseheads. Response to the TGA at these receptions has been enthusiastic and generous thus far, Bishop Clark noted.

Parishioners who didn’t attend the receptions can still learn about the TGA’s benefits through a short video, which was distributed to diocesan parishes in late September. The video -- which can also be viewed at www.dor.org -- highlights several specific areas of ministry that benefit from TGA funds, including diocesan Catholic Charities, youth and campus ministries, pastoral-planning efforts, and Parish Support Ministries programs such as the migrant-ministry program. In the video, Bishop Clark thanks parishioners for their past generosity and goodwill and urges them to continue their support for the church, whose work is never done.

The video is a way to show potential donors the human side of the TGA and let them know where their money is going, said Dave Kelly, TGA coordinator and associate director of diocesan stewardship and development. Parishes are being encouraged to hold their own receptions and show the video. A brochure, appeal letter, pledge card and return envelope were mailed to parishioners’ homes at the beginning of October, and later in the month, diocesan parishes will hold commitment Sundays, featuring speakers at Mass and in-pew TGA pledge cards.

As in the past, parishioners can make TGA donations by cash, check, credit card or direct debit. This year people also have the option of donating online at www.dor.org. Also new is a goal system in which each parish has an assigned goal to meet.

“It was based on a fair share of the total goal based on their offertory as well as consideration to past Thanks Giving Appeal historical performance,” according to Mark Clark, associate director of stewardship and development.

This year’s TGA brochure lists projected allocations for diocesan ministries as follows:

Support to parish ministries, $1.03 million; diocesan-wide administrative and support services, $973,700; Pastoral Center operation and services, $767,200; Catholic Charities, $683,900; bishop’s ministry/pastoral planning, $528,000; faith formation, $504,800; TGA campaign costs, $328,300; Catholic schools, $267,700; and human resources, $221,200.

“One parish can’t fund all these programs,” Mark Clark said.

The TGA utilizes the collective strength of all the parishes in the diocese to support these programs, Kelly said.

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