Bishop’s Appeal reaches $3 million mark

By | March 19, 2009

“Bringing Christ to All,” the theme for the Appeal, focuses on connecting donors to the services supported by their gifts. The struggling economy has increased the needs of people in northeast Wisconsin, said Diedrich.0906bishopappeal-web

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“Catholic Charities saw a 31 percent increase in new clients in 2008,” he said. “I know that number is increasing this year. I believe that supporters of the Appeal recognize the need. People, who are thankful that they are doing well financially and are able to provide for their families, are increasing their gifts to help others who are not as fortunate.”

The average gift to the 2009 Appeal is $156, the highest ever. So far, approximately 19,000 donors have made gifts, reported Diedrich.

“That’s 20 percent of Catholics in the diocese making gifts,” he said. “Imagine what we could do if we had that other 80 percent. It would be tremendous. If that other 80 percent each gave $25 we could do so much more. If they each gave an average of $50, we would be well beyond our goal and impact thousands of lives. Whatever the size of the gift is greatly appreciated.”

The number of donors is down approximately 3,000 at this point, added Diedrich.

For those who have yet to view the 2009 Bishop’s Appeal video, copies were distributed to all parishes, and it is available online at www.catholicfoundation.org.

Last year, Catholic Charities received $810,396 from the Appeal. The impact of those gifts is evident in the 41,000 people served, said Karen Johnston, diocesan director of Catholic Charities.

“Without the Bishop’s Appeal support, we could not provide the help that we do: we could not strengthen families; we would not be able to assist communities in moving people out of poverty,” she said. “We are the people who actually prevent a number of people in the diocese from falling through the cracks of society.”

In 2008, Stewardship and Pastoral Services received $828,492 from the Appeal.

“If you were the average parishioner in the pew, the way you would see our work is probably through materials that you get during stewardship programs and services,” said Mark Mogilka, diocesan director of Stewardship and Pastoral Services.

“You would see our work in the form of new programs in a parish,” he said. “The gift provides the financial support so that we can provide the services to parishes, to parish leaders, to parish staff, to parish councils and that they can get that service, the best service that’s available, without having to worry about paying fees for those services,” he added.

Last year, more than $1 million was allocated from the Bishop’s Appeal for the Department of Education, which includes Catholic schools, religious education and adult faith formation.

Dr. Joe Bound, diocesan director of education, said the department is striving to increase enrollment in all three areas and grow its programs.

“People of all ages are engaged in life-long Catholic learning in this diocese,” he said. “It will always continue whether you are a child or a senior.”

The diocese will continue to promote the 2009 Bishop’s Appeal through the end of June, but gifts are accepted throughout the year.

Contact Josh Diedrich at 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8197, (920)272-8197 or e-mail:
[email protected]

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