The annual Partners in Charity Appeal raised $4,881,859 in gifts and pledges this year, $118,141 shy of the $5 million goal, according to Michael P. Gillespie, diocesan director of Stewardship and Development.
Bishop McManus thanked those who made gifts and pledges to the fund drive this year.
“This year, 17,748 became ‘partners in charity’ in order to share the love of Jesus Christ with others through their charitable gifts. Please join me in thanking God for the generosity of our donors and for the opportunity to put our Faith in Action this year and for many years to come. May God bless you for your goodness and kindness in responding to this appeal,” the bishop wrote in a letter to the people of the diocese.
“This September, we are being blessed by the presence of His Holiness, Pope Francis, in our midst in the United States. We are also challenged by his actions to be attentive to those in need around us, those who are poor, weak or vulnerable. Why? Because we are all part of the Body of Christ and share in his mission of love for all.
“Pope Francis writes, ‘We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, that being good and decent are worth it.’ (Laudato Si #229).
“As supporters of Partners in Charity, our diocesan appeal, you join with Pope Francis and with Catholics around the Diocese of Worcester in manifesting God’s love to our brothers and sisters. Thanks to your donations, we raised $4,881,859.”
In 2014, the Diocese of Worcester received a $1.6 million bequest to Partners in Charity from the estate of Claire R. Berthiaume of Shrewsbury, who died in 2012. She was a teacher in Northborough and Framingham for many years.
Last year, money from that fund was used to bring the fund drive up to the $5 million goal when gifts and pledges fell short. This year, Mr. Gillespie said, that will not be necessary because the ministries and agencies that receive support from the drive will be funded.
In a statement to those who supported Partners in Charity this year, Mr. Gillespie said, “Allow me to express my sincere gratitude to you, the religious and laypeople who worked together so diligently on this past appeal. I also extend my sincere gratitude for the many sacrifices our donors made in order to support the ongoing charitable, educational and pastoral works which rely on this annual appeal.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to all pastors and the parish lay leadership, who helped us communicate the need for this appeal so effectively throughout Central Massachusetts. The appeal is still very much a parish-run campaign, fondly known by many by its former name as the ‘Bishops’ Fund.’
“When we look at how Partners in Charity encounters others, we can’t help but notice the numbers of young people who are affected by our work. So much in the pastoral life of our Church is for our young people: campus ministry, youth ministry, religious education, Catholic schools, seminarian education as well as charitable programs for families and children at risk. With your continued support we are able to do what Pope Francis invites us all to do: introduce Jesus to others. Thank you for responding so generously.”
Last year, Mr. Gillespie reported, there were 19,226 gifts, totaling $4,823,028. This year, despite receiving 1,472 fewer gifts, the Appeal topped last year’s total by $58,831.
The 35 Holy Family Society members, those who pledge at least $7,500, gave a total of $460,088. The 87 St. Paul Society members, who pledge a minimum of $5,000, gave a total of $464,867, Mr. Gillespie reported.
The John Vianney Society, made up of 145 priests of the diocese, gave a total of $225,660, exceeding last year’s total by $9,880. Ninety of the priests made gifts of $1,000 or more, Mr. Gillespie reported.
He reported that 69 of the 101 parishes and missions in the diocese reached or exceeded their goals. Last year, he said, 59 parishes and missions went over the top. They are:
Worcester: Christ the King, Immaculate Conception, Holy Family, Our Lady of Angels, Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann, Our Lady of Vilna, Sacred Heart-St. Catherine, St. Andrew the Apostle, St. George, St. John, Cathedral of St. Paul , St. Peter
Ashburnham: St. Denis & St. Anne
Athol: Our Lady Immaculate and St. Francis
Auburn: North American Martyrs and St. Joseph
Boylston: St. Mary of the Hills
Charlton: St. Joseph
Clinton: St. John, Guardian
of Our Lady
Douglas: St. Denis
Dudley: St. Andrew Bobola
and St. Anthony of Padua
East Brookfield: St. John
East Templeton: Holy Cross
Fiskdale: St. Anne-St. Patrick
Fitchburg: St. Bernard and
Gilbertville: St. Aloysius & St. Augustine
Grafton: St. Philip
Jefferson: St. Mary
Leicester: St. Aloysius-St. Jude
Leominster: Holy Family of Nazareth, St. Cecilia, Our Lady of the Lake, Holy Trinity Evangelization Center
Linwood: Good Shepherd
Lunenburg: St. Boniface
Millbury: Our Lady of
the Assumption and St. Brigid
North Brookfield: St. Joseph
North Oxford: St. Ann
Northborough: St. Bernadette and St. Rose of Lima
Northbridge: St. Peter
Oxford: St. Roch
Paxton: St. Columba
Petersham: St. Peter
Princeton: Prince of Peace
Shrewsbury: St. Anne and
South Barre: St. Francis
South Grafton: St. James
Southborough: St. Matthew
Spencer: Mary, Queen of
Sterling: St. Richard Chichester
Sutton: St. Mark
Upton: St. Gabriel
Uxbridge: St. Mary
Warren: St. Paul &
Webster: St. Joseph and
West Boylston: Our Lady
of Good Counsel
West Brookfield: Our Lady
of the Sacred Heart
Westborough: St. Luke
Westminster: St. Edward
Heart of Mary