The Annual Partners in Charity Appeal has exceeded its $5 million goal, a first for the campaign.
The Appeal received 17,857 gifts and pledges totaling $5,022,168, Michael Gillespie, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, said Sept. 1. He said more donations and pledges were expected to come in, and totals for the campaign would not be finalized until next week. This year’s campaign began Feb. 11.
“It has been a challenge for five years to reach a $5 million goal, but this year our fervent prayer was that we would make it,” Mr. Gillespie said.
The goal has been $5 million since the 2011 campaign, which raised $4,724,352. In 2012 the Appeal raised $4,835,997; in 2013 it ended with $4,868,683. In 2014, the campaign raised $4,823,028 and announced the receipt of a bequest for $1.6 million which was used to fulfill the goal. In 2015 it raised $4,881,859.
“Allow me to express my profound gratitude to God for the wonderful response to this year’s Partners in Charity Appeal,” said Bishop McManus. “Thanks to the generous support of the people of the Diocese of Worcester, and the leadership of pastors and parish chairpeople, we achieved our $5 million goal for pastoral, educational and charitable ministries.”
As of Thursday, 48 parishes met or exceeded their goal for this year and many more came close to goal, Mr. Gillespie said.
“That was fantastic to see, since this was the year we changed how we calculated the parish goals,” said Mr. Gillespie. “Thanks to the work of the advisory board and with the bishop’s support, we developed a more equitable formula which reflected each parish’s weekly offertory and took into account past campaign totals.
“I remember one pastor who called needing another ‘Thank you’ banner because he was so excited at how his parish raised more than ever. Pastors and parishioners who recognized the mission-critical nature of our ministries are the champions of this story.”
Mr. Gillespie pointed out the increased role of leadership-giving among the various societies, which make annual commitments of $300 to $7,500 or more.
“The growing commitment from donors who have joined societies and have increased their support contributed significantly to our being able to support ministries providing these works of mercy,” he said.
All of the society honor rolls are publicly acknowledged, after the appeal has concluded, in a published appeal report. The 2015 report is available online at partners-charity.net.
“I am also impressed by the number of elderly and retired parishioners who see themselves as partners in the work of the Catholic Church,” Mr. Gillespie said. “It shows how this appeal relies on many groups of donors, from leadership gifts to retirees and everyone in between.”
This year’s campaign theme, “Called to be Merciful,” echoed the theme of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy being observed in the Catholic Church around the globe. Reflecting on that theme, Bishop McManus said: “Thank you and may God bless each of our donors as, together, we offer the face of God’s mercy to our brothers and sisters in need.”
The 28 agencies and ministries which receive funding from the appeal are: Clergy Retirement, Retired Priests Health Ministry, Catholic Charities, Haitian Apostolate, McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys, Pernet Family Health Services, Seminarian Health Insurance, St. John’s Diocesan Cemetery System, Diocesan Development & Stewardship, Catholic Campus Ministry, Catholic Schools Department, The Office of Religious Education, Ongoing Priestly Formation, New Evangelization Worcester for Youth & Young Adults, Catholic School Grants-in-Aid, Seminarian Education, Central Catholic Schools Subsidy, Advanced Studies for Clergy and Laity, Communications, African Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, Office of Marriage and Family, Minister to Priests, Office of the Diaconate, Respect Life Office, Cathedral of St. Paul, Vocations Office, Office for Divine Worship.
Along with Development Office staff, members of the Partners in Charity advisory board include Father Ernest P. Allega, pastor, St. Denis Parish, East Douglas; Mary Lou Anderson, dean emeritas, Assumption College; Father William E. Champlin, pastor, St. Leo Parish, Leominster; Father James J. Caldarella, minister to priests; Diane Cetin, Partners coordinator at St. Joseph Parish, Charlton; Judy Curini, The Catholic Free Press staff; Patricia Halpin, parishioner, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, West Boylston; Msgr. Robert K. Johnson, rector, Cathedral of St. Paul, Worcester; Kevin Kieler, parishioner, St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Westborough; Father Charles F. Monroe, pastor, Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Worcester, and Father Jonathan J. Slavinskas, administrator, Our Lady of Providence Parish, Worcester.
– For more information on the appeal, including a list of the results by parish, visit www.partners-charity.net.