ROCHESTER — Observing that "the mission of the church is not singular, it’s multifaceted," Bishop Robert J. Cunningham said Sept. 23 that it’s difficult to pick out individual examples of what makes donating to the Catholic Ministries Appeal so crucial.
"The ministries and funds affect every facet of Catholic life in our 12 counties of the diocese," said Bishop Cunningham, who is bishop of Syracuse and apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Rochester. During a press conference at the diocesan Pastoral Center to announce the 2013-14 appeal, he cited "families, children and teens, our schools, our faith-formation programs, campus ministry, couples getting married, people who are sick, people who need food, housing and other services, and so much more" as areas that depend on CMA funding.
With a slogan of "We Are God’s Helping Hands," the campaign is kicking into gear with solicitations currently being mailed to 110,000 Catholic households across the diocese. Donations will be accepted through May 31, 2014. Diocesan officials are urging parish leaders to publicize the CMA through bulletin notices and presentations involving the new campaign’s video, which features children and teens commenting on the importance of helping those less fortunate.
The goal for the 2013-14 CMA is $5.875 million. Although last year’s $5.4 million final tally fell slightly short of the $5.825 million goal, total contributions set a record and marked the fifth consecutive year in which donations exceeded the $5 million mark. Bishop Cunningham also noted that the average gift of $183 to the 2012-13 CMA — up by $12 per donation over 2011-12 — marked the ninth consecutive year in which the average gift has increased.
"People in the Diocese of Rochester are extremely generous. They’re committed to reaching out to help others," Bishop Cunningham said, remarking that the CMA has remained successful despite financial difficulties faced in recent years by many potential donors.
Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark instituted the annual campaign in 1981 under the name of Thanks Giving Appeal. Doug Mandelaro, diocesan director of stewardship and communications, said CMA contributions fund approximately half of the diocesan budget, providing programs, services and ministries to more than 314,000 Catholics.
Among the programs receiving CMA funding are 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 vocational efforts; parish support ministries; and Pastoral Center operations and services.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Catholic Ministries Appeal gifts may be made by mail, with parish-provided envelopes, or online at www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/give-online/.Checks, credit cards, electronic-fund transfers and appreciated securities are all accepted. Pledges are tax deductible. The 2013-14 campaign video and brochure may be viewed online at www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/annual-appeal/. For further information, contact David Kelly, diocesan CMA director, at 585-328-3210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.