By Erin Dwyer
Archbishop Kurtz is extraordinarily proud of the outstanding job all of our parishes did this year for the 2019 Catholic Services Appeal. Raising nearly $3.8 million, we had 45 parishes meet their participation goal, which far exceeds the number who met participation goal in 2018, of 20. Truly, the success of the Catholic Services Appeal would not be possible without the dedication of the faithful of the Archdiocese, but also our pastors and pastoral administrators, as well as the parish staff and volunteers who work countless hours promoting the good works of CSA.
This spring, near the end of the Appeal, as we all encountered the very real and unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had an opportunity to engage more deeply with so many of our programs and ministries which are supported by CSA. Our agencies hit the ground running to ensure the safety of those we serve and to assist those in need. Here are some highlights of CSA in action, during this pandemic:
- The Record got published on time every week.
- 108 parishes received Paycheck Protection Loans, because of long hours and challenging work completed by the Finance Office and other departments.
- Our Catholic schools were able to pivot to online teaching and learning under the direction of our Office of Catholic Schools staff.(Teachers and parents also were incredible as they adapted to this new reality.)
- Parishes were guided in their efforts to maintain worship, live-stream Masses, and then assisted with return to worship by our talented Office of Worship.
- Many of the most poor and vulnerable in our community received direct aid through Catholic Charities; in fact Catholic Charities provided grants to help numerous parishes do the same.
- Parishes without on-line giving were able to receive support through an online portal set up by the Office of Mission Advancement.
- Live streaming messages, letters to all households, and answers to hundreds of calls were all made possible by our Communications Office.
- When tragedy struck and those most victimized by racial injustice raised their voices, our Multicultural Ministry Office immediately was a place folks could turn to.
- When lives were lost through the COVID-19 virus or otherwise, our Catholic Cemeteries staff never failed to be comforting and service-minded.
- Great planning has been done as we have moved from healthy at home towards heathy at worship to healthy at work and to healthy at school.
- In fact every agency, on this list and all others, stayed in operation and served those in their care.
This list could go on and on. We are deeply grateful to all who have so generously given to the Catholic Services Appeal. The quote for our 2019 Appeal was “To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us.” These words from Pope Francis, truly resonate with the many ways we have come together as one faith community, to bring hope and comfort to all, these past few months. We know that many challenges are forthcoming, especially as we combat the sins of racism, and acknowledge that the COVID-19 virus is still very present. Please continue to pray for our community, for our parish leaders, and know of our prayers for you, the faithful of the Archdiocese. Thank you for your continued generosity to the Catholic Services Appeal, as we work together to bring the compassion and love of Christ to all with whom we serve.
Erin Dwyer is Coordinator of Annual Giving and Stewardship in the Office of Mission Advancement.