Catholic Free Press

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$1.6 million bequest left to Partners in Charity

Posted By September 12, 2014 | 11:10 am | Featured Article #1, Lead Story #1
Photo by Tanya Connor
Attendees of the 10th annual St. Paul Society dinner socialize at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston Friday. St. Paul Society members donated $817,534 to Partners in Charity this year.
Photo by Tanya Connor Attendees of the 10th annual St. Paul Society dinner socialize at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston Friday. St. Paul Society members donated $817,534 to Partners in Charity this year.

The Diocese of Worcester has received bequest of $1.6 million from the estate of Claire R. Berthiaume to support Partners in Charity, Bishop McManus has announced.
The annual Partners in Charity Appeal, which helps support 28 charitable, educational and ministerial organizations in the diocese, ended its fund drive Aug. 31, the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. Gifts and pledges totaled $4,823,028. That is $176,972 short of the goal of $5 million.
The funds raised in this year’s drive will be used by the agencies and ministries in the 2014-15 fiscal year. Money from the bequest will be used to bring those funds up to $5 million and the remainder will be used in the future, according to a diocesan press release.
“My reaction is one of enormous gratitude,” said Bishop McManus.  “I am very grateful to Miss Berthiaume for her generosity and desire to care for others by naming Partners in Charity in her will. Her bequest is a blessing for the thousands of people who benefit each year from our pastoral, educational and charitable programs.”
For the last few years, the annual Partners in Charity Appeal has had a $5 million goal in order to provide a minimal level of service to those served by diocesan ministries and programs.
“Thanks to Miss Berthiaume’s bequest, we now have the opportunity to assure that we can address the urgent needs of the people these programs serve today and in the years to come,” Bishop McManus added.
Miss Berthiaume, 86, of 245 Maple Ave., Shrewsbury, died on Jan. 14, 2012. She was predeceased by two sisters, G. Rubia Poirier and Yvette G. Bagley, and survived by several nieces and nephews.
She was a teacher in the Northbridge school system before becoming a department head in the Framingham school system, where she served for 20 years. She was a parishioner in St. Mary’s Parish, Uxbridge, and St Anne’s Parish, Shrewsbury.
She was a member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the National Teachers Association and the Framingham Teachers Association.
Bishop McManus also thanked those from across the diocese who gave 19,226 gifts in support of the 2014 Partners in Charity Appeal.
Fifty-nine of the 102 parishes in the diocese reached or exceeded their goals, according to Michael P. Gillespie, diocesan director of Stewardship and Development. The 108 members of the St. Paul Society, who pledge at least $5,000, donated $817,534. There were 1,055 new donors and 882 on-line donors.
So many of the programs supported by Partners in Charity have demands which outweigh the funding which can be provided, even when the appeal achieves its $5 million goal,  according to the diocesan press release. Some examples include homeless prevention programs provided by Catholic Charities, Grant-in-Aid assistance for Catholic school students, and many programs which collaborate with parishes in their regular ministries.
Many but not all of these programs rely on additional direct appeals in order to meet the growing needs. One pressing area of need is the care for 60 retired priests.  Partners in Charity provides a significant amount of financial support for the care of the retired diocesan priests who have served in our local parishes. Yet, just as every household has experienced, the rising cost of healthcare, assisted living and nursing home care has resulted in a $1 million deficit for priests’ retirement care each of the past few years.  A new fundraising effort is beginning this fall to help bridge the financial gap in the support of priests’ retirement care, the press release stated.
“The sacrificial giving of the Catholic community is a way for thousands of Catholics to be involved regularly in the good works throughout the diocese. Generous bequests are a most welcome and exceptional way to bolster and complement those efforts, but they can never replace the individual sacrificial giving in pledges or gifts that has provided assistance to tens of thousands of people through Partners and Charity and its predecessor, the Bishops’ Fund, for more than 60 years,” he said.