Bishop's Appeal brings Faces of Faith to others
By supporting the Appeal Catholics act as Jesus taught
First in a series on the Bishop's Appeal
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
|GIFT SHARING: Pie chart shows how the Bishop's Appeal is divided among the various diocesan departments to serve the needs of parishes and individuals throughout the diocese.
Those who viewed the 2005 Bishop's Appeal video last weekend saw the impact of Sr. Pat Flanigan's ministry on migrant workers and their families in Wautoma.
They also witnessed faith sharing with college students by Laurie Svatek at the UW-Green Bay Ecumenical Center, and by Fr. Bob Kollath at the Newman Center at UW-Oshkosh.
"These are two great stories, great examples of 'Faces of Faith,'(Appeal theme)" said Josh Diedrich, director of the Bishop's Appeal, "but there are hundreds more. From the religious ed teacher who helps children with the building blocks of faith, to parish leaders who visit the homebound, the Bishop's Appeal allows the diocese to reach out to those in need and help others as Jesus taught us."
The target for the 2005 Bishop's Appeal is $4.8 million, equivalent to the 2004 goal. Last year's campaign received more than $4.67 million from nearly 40,000 donors.
"In the 13 months since I've been bishop of this diocese, I've seen generosity on so many fronts by so many of our people," said Bp. David Zubik. "It is precisely this generosity that helps us to continue to serve many people in many ways."
Ministries the diocese's annual fund-raising effort supports include teacher and administrator training through Total Catholic Education, counseling services through Catholic Charities, assistance to immigrants and refugees, marriage preparation, sacred music programs, disabilities ministry, Hispanic outreach, deacon formation, support for the diocesan mission in the Dominican Republic and The Compass. (See chart above showing how the Appeal funds are divided among diocesan departments.)
"We obviously want to reach our goal, but just as important is an increase in stewardship, which begins at the parish level," said Diedrich.
"Our stewardship model is prayer, service and sharing," he said. "The Bishop's Appeal is an opportunity to take that sharing to heart. It's also an opportunity for all of us to pray and ask God what to give back."
The number of people helped by services supported by the Appeal continues to increase, he added. For example, the number of clients served by Catholic Charities has climbed by 10,000 over the past two years.
"With respect to the economy and job loss in northeast Wisconsin, some of our communities have been hit pretty hard," Diedrich continued.
"Budget counseling programs through Catholic Charities," he said, "help people get back on the path to financial stability."
The Appeal provides for 50% of the diocese's operating expenses. Donors may choose to make a one-time contribution or pledge gifts. Credit cards are accepted.
"We've seen an increase in credit card gifts," said Diedrich. "We also encourage donors to explore matching gift programs through their employers."
A matching gift form, available from the employer, may be sent with the employee's gift to the Appeal. Companies may not provide a matching gift for religious purposes, but will provide a match for services provided by Catholic Charities.
The Appeal video was sent to all diocesan parishes. Diedrich suggests that those who have not seen it request it at the parish or download it online. The web page also includes a special homily from Bp. Zubik for download, a pledge form and a page devoted to the Crozier Society, for those who give $500 or more to the campaign.
"I'm thankful for the continued support of the Appeal," said Diedrich, "and hope that we can raise the $4.8 million to go out and impact 200,000 lives throughout our diocese."
"As we begin the Bishop's Appeal for 2005, I anticipate with great hope an even more generous response to the needs of our church," said Bp. Zubik. "It's my hope and prayer that we can all respond in an even more heartfelt manner."
For more information, contact Diedrich at (920)272-8197 or 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8197; P.O. Box 23825, Green Bay 54305-3825; e-mail: [email protected]; or go online to www.gbdioc.org.