2015 Bishop’s Appeal kicks off Feb. 7, 8

By Sam Lucero | The Compass | February 5, 2015

$5.1 million goal remains same as last year’s, says Diedrich, Appeal director

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]ALLOUEZ—The 2015 Bishop’s Appeal, which supports church ministries across northeast Wisconsin, will kick off in parishes the weekend of Feb. 7 and 8. The goal of this year’s campaign — $5.1 million — is the same as it has been the past three years, according to Josh Diedrich, Bishop’s Appeal director.BA-15-Logo.jpgweb2

“Our overall goal has increased once in six years,” Diedrich told The Compass. “We have people throughout northeast Wisconsin who are so incredibly generous and support the church in so many ways and the Bishop’s Appeal is one of those ways.”

Diedrich said the 2014 Appeal exceeded its goal, with $5,517,000 raised. The campaign’s success was a result of three factors: cooperation and support from parish leadership; generous donors; and outstanding ministries and programs that benefit thousands of people. He believes these factors will again lead to a successful campaign in 2015.

“Each and every year, what impresses me the most is the breadth of the ministry we have here in the diocese,” said Diedrich.

Ministries range from adult and youth religious education; outreach to the homebound; and liturgies or prayer services. The diocese provides training, funded by the Bishop’s Appeal, for people involved in these and other ministries.

“It’s that care minister who goes out and reaches the person who is homebound or sick,” he said. “In a lot of cases, that care minister has received training by someone from the diocese.”

When people attend Mass, they may not be aware that those involved in the liturgy, including the priest, have benefited from the Appeal.

“Whether it’s the deacon or the pastor who … two weeks earlier was at clergy congress with all of his brother priests receiving continuing education,” explained Diedrich. “We don’t think about those things. It might be that business manager at the parish who has called the diocese because they have a question on how to handle a certain situation. The diocese has the resources to be able to answer those questions.”

The Appeal also supports services to people, regardless of faith, who struggle with different issues, said Diedrich.

“Another blessing that we see year in and year out is Catholic Charities. We all hear stories about people who have gone through a difficult time in their life and they need a little bit of help,” he said. “Catholic Charities is there for them — whether they have the ability to pay or not. That’s doing the work of Christ.”

A successful campaign hinges on the support of parish leaders who believe the Appeal makes a difference, said Diedrich.

“The leadership we get from our priests and parish staff leaders really makes a difference — in getting the word out and sharing with people of the parish the importance of the Appeal,” said Diedrich. “I know how grateful Bishop Ricken is to the people of our diocese — not only of their prayers for him, but of their support of the Bishop’s Appeal.”

The theme of this year’s Appeal is “Building Disciples of Christ.” Diedrich said the theme was the result of brainstorming among the Catholic Foundation staff “and the Holy Spirit helping us out.”

“We thought this theme fits well with Bishop Ricken’s ‘Disciples on the Way’ and “Teach My People to Pray,’” he said. These two documents issued in 2014 are the blueprints for Bishop Ricken’s six-year pastoral plan for the diocese.

“One of the things we think about (is) how can we show ministries that support the pastoral letters that Bishop Ricken has written,” said Diedrich. “Through this year’s Appeal, we are seeing how we are building these disciples of Christ and they are going out and sharing that love with others.”

While the Appeal’s main objective is to reach its $5.1 million goal, Diedrich said he has other goals. One is to help every parish achieve its goal. “We work really hard at the Catholic Foundation to be able to help provide them with the tools and resources to achieve that goal,” he said.

These resources include posters and brochures distributed to parishes.

“We provide pastors with key messages that they can use in the bulletins” as well as from the pulpit, he said.

Diedrich said another goal is to build participation in the Appeal. Last year, more than 31,000 people made a donation to the Bishop’s Appeal.

“I would love to see that number grow just a little bit,” he said. “We really encourage people, ‘If you haven’t had an opportunity to make a gift before, it would be wonderful to help us this year with your first gift.”

Diedrich’s mantra: no gift is too small.

“We see 80-year-old men who are widowed sending in $5 because that’s all they have to give at this point,” he said. “That’s a tremendous gift, a sacrificial gift for that person.”

In recent years, the Catholic Foundation has used social media to build awareness about the Appeal.

“Last year we had some (Facebook) posts that had really nice traffic. People responded well to them,” said Diedrich. The most popular post included a photo of Deacon Manny Torres from St. John the Baptist Parish in Howard. People were asked to share a story about their parish deacon. “We got lots of really good feedback. A lot of people replied, saying they really appreciate their deacon,” he said.

Following the Appeal’s kickoff weekend, parishioners should begin receiving a letter from Bishop Ricken asking for their support. The letter includes a brochure explaining how donations support various programs and ministries. It also includes a pledge card with a return envelope.

Donors can make monthly installments. They can give by check, credit card or electronic bank withdrawal. They can also make a donation online at the foundation website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]Did you know?

  • About 92 cents of every dollar donated to the Bishop’s Appeal supports the ministries of the Diocese of Green Bay.
  •  The 2014 Bishop’s Appeal goal was $ 5.1 million, the same as this year’s Appeal.
  • The average gift in 2014 was $174.
  • The Bishop’s Appeal distributed $1,088,005 to Catholic Charities in 2014 to support its ministries? (The amount totaled 39 percent of the charity’s operating budget.
  • Helps bring the face of Jesus to more than 300,000 people every year.
  • You can learn more about the Appeal by visiting the website, www.catholicfoundation gb.org.

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