“Parish directors serve as one example of the call to serve,” said Diedrich. “God is calling all of us to get involved through stewardship of service. Joe and Sr. Pam have been called to lead as parish directors and work in partnership with sacramental ministers.”
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Faces of Faith.” The video also highlights the ministry of Julianne Donlon-Stanz, director of adult faith formation and young adult ministry for the diocese. Donlon-Stanz conducts workshops and presentations throughout the diocese. Her programs, much like the “Know Your Faith” presentations by Fr. John Girotti and workshops on morality offered by Fr. John Doerfler, are made possible by the Bishop’s Appeal, said Diedrich.
“If you go to one of Julianne’s presentations, sit and spend some time with her if you can,” he said. “You will get a greater sense of understanding about our faith and her passion for her work. She really does a terrific job in adult faith formation, but also in young adult faith formation. She has told me that there have been many occasions where people have asked if they can offer a stipend. She tells them, ‘No, your gift to the Bishop’s Appeal allows me to share our faith with you.'”
The goal for the 2011 appeal is $5 million for the third consecutive year. Last year’s campaign fell short, raising $4,501,000. Diedrich said that the challenge is making people aware of how they benefit from the Bishop’s Appeal. Those featured in the video all received training and support from the diocese. The appeal also gives people an opportunity to reach out to those in need, he added.
Diedrich points to the story told by Ted Gup in the book, “A Secret Gift” (Penguin Press 2010), as an example of giving for the greater good. Gup’s grandfather, Sam Stone, ran an ad in the Canton, Ohio, newspaper in 1933 anonymously inviting people who were struggling around Christmas time to write him a letter. He intended to give $5 each to 75 families. Gup received his grandfather’s briefcase containing 150 letters and 150 canceled checks. The author tracked down members of some of the families that were helped.
“Edith May’s letter talked about how cold it was and how she knows what it feels like to be hungry,” said Diedrich. “Edith’s daughter, when contacted, remembered that Christmas. She was 4 years old. That year, she remembers going into Canton to see the Christmas lights. It was the first and only time Felicia ever received a purchased toy, a pull string pony. She remembers that so fondly.
“I look at that very similarly to the Bishop’s Appeal,” he added. “When you make a gift to the Bishop’s Appeal, it’s not as though you are always making a gift to your friend or neighbor. It may be someone you’ve never met.”
The campaign assisted more than 45,000 people who sought assistance through Catholic Charities last year. It also supports more than 40,000 students in Catholic schools and religious education programs, said Diedrich. He is hoping for an increase in the number of donors in 2011. Last year’s Appeal saw a decrease in the number of gifts to 32,889. The amount of the average gift increased to nearly $139.
“Some people may have never made a gift to the Bishop’s Appeal,” said Diedrich. “Maybe the timing wasn’t right. It can do so much good. We have people who are really struggling in our diocese. By making a gift, you are helping to support those needs. Even a gift of $5 makes such a difference. We are grateful for all gifts.”
For more information on the 2011 Bishop’s Appeal, to view the video or make an online gift, visit www.catholicfoundationgb.org.