Diedrich explained that many of the parishes took a grassroots approach to promoting the appeal.
“When Father is preaching a homily about the appeal and on subsequent weekends, parishioners are getting up and telling their appeal story, how they received training through the ministries of the diocese or have been helped through ministries of the diocese, it’s made a tremendous difference in those parishes,” he said.
The 2010 Bishop’s Appeal raised approximately $4.5 million. This year’s campaign produced increases across the board. Not only did the total amount of funds grow, but the number of donors also climbed by 500 to 33,402. The average gift, $149 per donor, marked approximately a $10 increase from 2010.
The Crozier Society, for donors who make annual gifts of $500 or more, also continues to grow, said Diedrich. Many Crozier members utilize the pledge gift option, he added.
“I know for my wife and I, writing out a check for $500 would be a challenge,” he said, “but we look at it and think, ‘could we do $50 a month for 10 months? Yeah, we can probably swing that.’ I am grateful for what anyone can give. If you are giving a gift of $25, maybe you’re helping train a Care minister (one-on-one lay pastoral caregiving program) or help in the religious education of a child.”
Education receives the most appeal funds, 23 percent of the campaign’s distributions. Eighty-seven percent of the department’s budget is supported by the appeal. Catholic Charities receives the second highest amount of distributions at 18 percent. The campaign makes a significant impact on more than 40,000 people served annually by Catholic Charities, said Diedrich.
“Given the current economy and the market, people have been very generous and see the need,” he said. “During these uncertain times, more people are seeking the services of Catholic Charities and a lot do not have any insurance at all.”
Resources to parishes are also provided by the diocesan departments of Stewardship and Pastoral Services, Evangelization, Living Justice and Worship, and Ministry Formation, all supported by the campaign.
“Time and time again what I hear from the priests is that because of the Bishop’s Appeal, we have the ability to call the diocese and get answers,” said Diedrich.
“We have quite a few people who have made a gift annually the past 15 years,” said Diedrich. “The generosity is amazing. We invite those who haven’t given to consider it. All gifts are important no matter the amount.”
Gifts to the 2011 Bishop’s Appeal are still being accepted. The 2012 appeal kicks off Feb. 4-5. “Renewing Christ in You” will serve as the theme.
For a breakdown of Bishop’s Appeal 2011 distributions, see www.Catholicfoundationgb.org/Appealreport.