What does a fundraising campaign have to do with the Eucharist?
Quite a bit, according to Colleen Brade.
The 42nd-annual Catholic Ministries Appeal is unfolding in the early stages of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative launched in June 2022 by the nation’s bishops to increase devotion and faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Brade, who serves as diocesan director of stewardship and the CMA, said the 2022-23 campaign’s theme “I Am With You Always” — a quote from Matthew 28:20 — was selected in conjunction with the revival.
“The theme is a way to remind people of that enduring presence, that Christ is with us every day in the Eucharist,” she said. “We need to come back to church, partake in the Eucharist and then go out there and share that message with the world. One way we can do that is through the programs and ministries that are provided through the Catholic Ministries Appeal.”
The campaign recently got underway in diocesan parishes and will run through May 31, 2023. With a goal of $6.725 million, the appeal seeks to raise funds for vital programs, services and ministries across the Diocese of Rochester.
A six-minute CMA video introduced by Bishop Salvatore R. Matano can be viewed at www.dor.org/cma.
Annual Catholic Ministries Appeal campaign funds wide range of ministries
Contributions to the CMA fund more than half the diocesan budget, fully or partly supporting efforts parishes could not easily afford on their own. Among CMA-supported initiatives are: faith-formation programs 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 efforts; support of deacons, pastoral leaders and vocations, including formation and education through St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry; parish support ministries; operations and services of the diocesan Pastoral Center; and ministries of the Vatican, the U.S. bishops and Bishop Matano.
Brade emphasized that any donation, large or small, is vital to the campaign’s success. In addition to contributions by mail, the CMA also offers electronic giving options, which Brade described as the fastest, easiest and safest ways to give. Donors can contribute electronically via the CMA website; QR codes included on pledge cards; a “Text to Give” mobile phone app; and a sustaining-pledge program through which a series of donations can be automatically deducted.
Success rests on dedicated donors, parish leadership
The 2022-23 CMA aims to build on the success of the 2021-22 campaign, to which donors contributed an all-time high of $6.51 million — 96.8 percent of the campaign goal. Brade noted that last year’s total came from more than 21,200 donors making an average gift of $307, the highest average in CMA history. She added that 60 parishes across the 12-county Diocese of Rochester met or exceeded their goals.
This marks the fifth consecutive year in which the CMA goal has remained $6.725 million. Brade said the goal has not been increased due to such concerns as the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on church attendance and giving, economic uncertainty and high inflation.
Brade acknowledged that some potential CMA donors also might also be hesitant to donate because the diocese has been involved since 2019 in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. But she emphasized that no CMA contributions are used for the settlement of legal cases.
In light of all these concerns, Brade said “it was unbelievable” that the 2021-22 campaign came so close to reaching its goal while achieving its highest dollar-total ever.
“It was an almost miraculous year. People still continued to give,” Brade said, observing that the campaign’s ongoing success is based “number one, on those loyal, dedicated, generous donors that give year after year after year. It’s also our tremendous leadership in the parish — so many good pastoral leaders and volunteers to make sure those goals are achieved.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: CMA donations can be made by mail using parish-provided envelopes, or online at www.dor.org/cma. The website also features the 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. For more details, contact Colleen Brade at 585-328-3210, ext. 1326, or firstname.lastname@example.org.