Giving new meaning to the expression “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the diocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith has increased its collections more than fivefold in just one year’s time.
The Diocese of Rochester contributed $487,480 in 2008 toward the Propagation of the Faith’s general national fund, according to Father Robert Bradler, diocesan director. That’s a staggering rise of some $410,567 from the $76,913 collected in the diocese in 2007.
Father Bradler said the jump was fueled by monies that became available from people’s wills for the charity, which supports mission and evangelization efforts around the world.
This total placed the Rochester Diocese 27th out of the 180 contributing dioceses around the country, even though the diocese ranks 62nd in Catholic population. Last year’s total contribution from all U.S. dioceses was slightly more than $50 million.
Father Bradler said he learned of the diocesan ranking during the national Propagation of the Faith directors’ meeting, which took place April 28-30 in St. Louis, Mo. He said the 27th-place showing is among our highest ever, and only about $6,000 short of landing in the top 25.
“I was hoping for (number) 25, but we were just short of that,” Father Bradler said, adding that this was nonetheless “a wonderful year” and he is deeply thankful for the support from diocesan parishes and individuals.
Yet due to the uncertainty of when bequests through wills might become available, Father Bradler said funds collected from year to year tend to vary widely.
“You can never predict,” said Father Bradler, who has directed the local Propagation of the Faith collection since 1982. Retired since 2007, he was the longtime pastor at St. James and later St. Thomas the Apostle parishes, both in Irondequoit.
Father Bradler urged people to remember the Propagation of the Faith when considering direct contributions and/or making out their wills, so they can help support the propagation’s efforts “to nourish the people of Third World countries with the word, the Eucharist and even food.”
The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was founded in 1822 in France, and has grown its focus of prayer and financial support into a worldwide effort. The society is active in building up the church in such areas as Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands and Latin America.
The society’s Web site cites as examples of its work “aid for the education and support of seminarians, religious novices and lay catechists; for the work of religious communities in education, health care and social services; for communication and transportation needs and for disaster and emergency relief when necessary.”