By William T. Clew | The Catholic Free Press
Many parishes in the diocese will conduct in-pew collections March 18 and 19 for the annual Partners in Charity Appeal, which kicked off Feb. 26 and already has raised more than $800,000 in advanced gifts, according to Michael P. Gillespie, diocesan director of Stewardship and Development.
The goal is $5 million again this year. Last year the Appeal topped its $5 million goal by $44,850. The average gift was $280, Mr. Gillespie said.
“The in-pew process provides an opportunity to bring the needs of the appeal to the forefront of the minds of parishioners while providing them with a convenient mechanism to respond at that moment,” Mr. Gillespie said.
He said that the diocese has sent out a letter and pledge card from Bishop McManus to past donors.
He suggested that donors who have not yet completed the pledge gift can bring their pledge envelopes to Mass March 18 or 19 for the in-pew collection. Or they can mail the pledge cards directly to the Chancery in the self-addressed envelopes. He said that the Appeal is a pledge campaign in which donors can make payments in installments.
“The in-pew process can re-engage former donors as well as those who have never made a gift to the Appeal, or those who are not registered as a member of a parish,” Mr. Gillespie said. “Past experience has shown that some donors even make an additional gift through the in-pew process after hearing inspirational testimony from the pastor or a fellow parishioner.
“Your gifts to your parish, to the Diocese and to the work of the Church throughout the world should be given in gratitude for the continuing gifts that God gives all of us. Our combined gifts not only signify our gratitude to God, they fund a significant portion of the work of our Diocese,” he said.
Our 2017 Partners in Charity theme “Faith in Action is Love” serves as a reminder to imitate God’s mercy through love and support to our neighbors. All gifts will support 28 ministries and agencies that serve tens of thousands of people in Worcester County, from families in our parishes to those on the fringe of society. The Annual Partners in Charity Appeal is a very effective way to support ministries outside of your parish boundary, as well as to support the services that the diocese provides to all parishes.
Partner off to strong start
By Margaret M. Russell | The Catholic Free Press
Parish representatives picked up their Partners in Charity materials on Sunday, Feb 26, but even before that the campaign was clearly well under way.
On Wednesday $839,000 of the $5 million goal had already been raised, reported Michael P. Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.
This is the largest pre-campaign amount that Partners has seen and Mr. Gillespie said he is hopeful for another successful year.
Last year donations to Partners in Charity surpassed the goal by about $45,000. More than 18,000 donors supported the ministries and agencies that get funding from Partners.
“Faith in Action is Love,” the theme for the 2017 Partners in Charity appeal, comes from a quote by Mother Teresa: “Faith in action is love and love in action is service.” Saint Teresa of Kolkata is the patroness of the annual appeal which gives financial support to 28 charitable, pastoral and educational programs in the Diocese of Worcester.
“Beginning with her canonization in September 2016, we continue to be inspired by her loving message that to serve others is to serve Christ,” Bishop McManus said of Mother Teresa. “Often thought of as a living saint by those who knew her and worked with her, the term “Mother” spoke volumes about her outlook on life.”
At Sunday’s campaign kick off, held in the atrium of St. Vincent Hospital, Bishop McManus challenged those who donated to last year’s campaign to invite a friend, or two, to be missionaries of charity this year.
He talked about his encounter with the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa. When he was a young priest in Rome he was celebrating Mass for her sisters. After Mass he thanked Mother Teresa for her work with the poor, but she stopped him. She said she wanted to thank him for being a priest and bringing Jesus, the Eucharist, to her sisters. According to Bishop McManus, she said that Jesus was the food that gave the sisters the strength to do their works of charity and he is the one who should be thanked.
Mother Teresa’s words and actions have been an inspiration for many people who work in the ministries supported by Partners and for those who give.
About 75 priests and parish representatives gathered at St. Vincent’s to hear talks by the bishop and Mr. Gillespie, watch the 2017 campaign video, view art work and essays submitted by school-aged children and to collect campaign material for their parish.
Bishop McManus read an essay from Jake Joubert submitted to Partners in Charity’s new art and essay contest. The sixth-grader from Immaculate Conception Parish in Worcester told about his family’s efforts to live by Saint Teresa’s words by volunteering at a shelter, mentoring those with learning disabilities and taking care of rescue animals. The essay writer then urged people to “be kind and offer help.” Bishop McManus said he was inspired by the youngster’s final words: “I am my faith and my faith is love. I turn my love into action to serve God.”
Visit partners-charity.net for a list of the charities, ministries and educational programs that rely on the generosity of Partners’ supporters.