“Phenomenal” and “astounding” are how Colleen Brade and Doug Mandelaro describe responses from throughout the Diocese of Rochester to the 2020-21 Catholic Ministries Appeal, despite the campaign having been entirely conducted during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 40th-annual CMA, with a theme of “Christ Our Light,” is set to officially conclude May 31. It has raised approximately $6.131 million through May 11, according to the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Communications for which Mandelaro serves as director and Brade as CMA coordinator. That figure surpasses last year’s final total of $6.104 million, marking 91.16 percent of the 2020-21 campaign’s $6.725 million goal.
A typical CMA kickoff is highlighted by promotions in parishes each fall, through such means as testimonials and showing of the CMA video in conjunction with Sunday Masses. This past year, however, congregations were much smaller due to concerns over exposure to COVID-19 as well as pandemic-related seating limitations. But Mandelaro noted that through an increased focus on CMA publicity through bulletins, websites and social media, sufficient word got out.
“We want to offer special recognition and thanks to pastors and administrators, and volunteers and staffs. There was so much on their plates, but they still worked so hard with us on the CMA,” Mandelaro said.
And those who received the word about the campaign responded strongly. Brade said that contributions have come from 21,500 donors, with 99 percent of all pledges having been fulfilled thus far. A total of 37 parishes across the Diocese of Rochester have reached their assigned goals, with another 15 parishes raising at least 90 percent. In addition, Mandelaro said that the average CMA gift has increased for the 16th consecutive year, reaching an all-time high of $285.
Brade said these statistics are especially impressive, since many potential donors have been hampered by economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, such as loss of or reduction in employment.
“I have heard from people that this year they are giving a little bit more, because they realize there are some people who can’t give,” Brade said, adding that several donors mailed in second gifts after receiving federal government-issued economic stimulus payments.
“That type of generosity is so humbling and wonderful, really, and the type of generosity that keeps our church going and alive,” she remarked.
“People are so dedicated to the church and the cause and mission of the church,” Mandelaro added. “People have really stepped up, and we can’t be more grateful.”
Those still wishing to make contributions can do so by visiting www.dor.org.cma or contacting Brade at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or email@example.com. Any donations received after May 31 will be put toward the 2021-22 campaign.
CMA proceeds constitute more than half of the diocesan budget, fully or partially supporting efforts across the 12-county diocese that parishes would struggle to afford on their own. All CMA funds go toward programs, services and ministries. No contributions are used for the settlement of legal cases.