As the Catholic Ministries Appeal moves past the 80 percent mark of its goal, fresh initiatives are being planned to enhance what has been a solid start to the 2020-21 campaign.
CMA commitments through Feb. 12 had totaled $5.381 million. That amount represented 80 percent of the campaign’s overall goal of $6.725 million, with 20 diocesan parishes having already surpassed their goals and 10 additional parishes reaching the 90 percent level.
Colleen Brade, campaign coordinator, said the CMA is only about two weeks behind the pace of last year’s campaign at the same point — even though the entire 2020-21 campaign has thus far been conducted amid challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic that began to surface in the Rochester Diocese this past March.
“It’s surprising how well we are doing in the face of the pandemic,” Brade remarked. “We’re kind of pinching ourselves; these donors are just so loyal and dedicated and faithful.”
“I think they just rose to the challenge and gave. It’s been just a wonderful spirit of generosity,” added Doug Mandelaro, diocesan director of the Office of Stewardship and Communications.
The 2020-21 appeal, with a theme of “Christ Our Light,” began in parishes across the 12-county diocese during October 2020 and will run through May 31, 2021. In order to further boost the campaign toward realizing its goal, diocesan officials are introducing a variety of approaches over the next several weeks. Among them are mailing reminders to previous CMA donors who have not yet contributed to the current campaign; promoting the CMA via television advertisements and social media; and working with parishes that have not met their goals — “especially as we’re moving into that Lenten season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving,” Brade said.
Brade noted that the diocese offers a variety of ways to donate either by mail or electronically, with Text to Give via mobile phone being a particularly easy form of contributing. Instructions are available at www.dor.org/giving/text-to-give.
CMA proceeds fund more than half of the diocesan budget, fully or partially supporting programs, services and ministries that parishes would struggle to afford on their own. Among CMA-supported initiatives are: programs that support faith formation for children and adults; young-adult ministries; Catholic schools; sacramental preparation; youth and campus ministries; diocesan Catholic Charities and its regional offices and agencies; information technology; chaplaincies; social-ministry endeavors; support of deacons, pastoral leaders and vocations, including formation and education through St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry; parish support ministries; the operations and services of the diocesan Pastoral Center; and the ministries of the Vatican, the United States bishops and Bishop Salvatore R. Matano.
Brade said that the average CMA gift in 2020-21 is at an all-time high of $284. However, she stressed that donations of all sizes are vital to the campaign’s success.
“What I like to promote with the parishes is participation, even if everybody can just give a little — especially people who have never made a (CMA) gift before,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In addition to direct-mail contributions, 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. Checks (made payable to the Catholic Ministries Appeal), credit cards, electronic-fund transfers and appreciated securities are all accepted. Do not send cash. All campaign funds raised are used for programs, services and ministries; no CMA contributions are used for the settlement of legal cases. For more details, contact Colleen Brade at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or email@example.com.