Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • May
  • 31

Partners counts on new donors and old to reach $5M goal

Posted By May 31, 2012 | 1:17 pm | Lead Story #3
More than 1,000 new donors can be counted among those giving to the annual Partners in Charity Appeal. The appeal has reached 83 percent of its $5 million goal, according to Michael P. Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development. Gifts and pledges total $4,150,049, he said, from 16,533 donors. Of that number, 1,145 have been new donors who have contributed a total of $132,484. “This is very hopeful news,” Mr. Gillespie said.

More than 1,000 new donors can be counted among those giving to the annual Partners in Charity Appeal. The appeal has reached  83 percent of its $5 million goal, according to Michael P. Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.
Gifts and pledges total $4,150,049, he said, from 16,533 donors. Of that number, 1,145 have been new donors who have contributed a total of $132,484.
“This is very hopeful news,” Mr. Gillespie said.
The fund drive is $149,981 ahead of where it was last year at this time, he said. He estimated that it will take another 5,000 to 6,000 donors to reach the goal.
The 90 members of the St. Paul Society, who pledge a minimum of $5,000, have made gifts and pledges totaling $663,850. Their average gift is $7,376.
The Appeal will continue until Aug. 31, the end of the fiscal year.
One of the diocesan ministries that is supported by Partners is the Office for Youth Ministry.
Deacon Eduardas Meilus said he often hears people say, “The youth are the future of the Church.”
He tells them this isn’t the case.
“They are an integral part of the Church now,” he insists. “They’re very important now.”
The deacon directs the Youth Ministry Office, located in the Chancery on Elm Street.
Later in their lives, he noted, the teenagers currently playing on parish basketball teams, attending youth retreats and volunteering their time serving others will assume more responsibility.
“They will be the leaders of the future,” said Deacon Meilus.
The office supports parish-based youth groups and religious education programs throughout the diocese.
“We are a resource for the parishes,” he explained.
Adult or college-age students who’ve been confirmed can also receive training on how to run youth groups.
“Parishes can pick and choose how we can help them,” he said.
Deacon Meilus said Partners in Charity makes it possible to conduct outreach, such as retreats for high school students. These may be offered at a single parish or they may involve multiple parishes. Sometimes individual parishes contact the office for assistance with confirmation retreats.
In any given year, about 3,000 to 5,000 youth participate in various fun and faith-forming activities, such as softball, volleyball and basketball tournaments, according to Deacon Meilus.
The Office for Youth Ministry is also involved in Scouting programs at the parish level.
“Whatever will bring the young people closer to God,” said Deacon Meilus.
One time, at a sporting event hosted by a parish, a young man took Deacon Meilus aside. He asked him, “What do I have to do to become a priest?”
“That’s why we need to be available for them – to meet them where they are,”  he said.