Cecile Pagliarulo 2017-09-07 01:09:37
2017 Bishop’s Annual Appeal to kick-off Sept. 9-10 at weekend Masses CLIFTON During the weekend of Sept. 9-10, the 2017 Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) will kickoff at weekend Masses in parishes across the Diocese giving the faithful once again the opportunity to support the good works of the Church of Paterson. Led by the theme from the Prayer of St. Francis, “In Giving, We Receive,” the Appeal invites parishioners to help fund ministries that serve the poor, sick, and needy; inner-city area elementary school students; diocesan seminarians and retired priests. Last year the 2016 Bishop’s Annual Appeal raised a record $4.4 million in pledges and it was one of the most successful years for receiving new donor participation. To prepare for the 2017 BAA, pastors, priests and lay appeal chairpersons attended a kick-off meeting with Bishop Serratelli Aug. 28 at the St. John Paul II Center here. With the faithful’s generosity, the BAA will support diocesan Catholic Charities agencies, inner- city area elementary schools, seminarian education and Nazareth Village, the diocesan priests’ retirement residence. The Diocese’s Development Office coordinates the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. During the meeting, the Bishop spoke about sacrificial giving and said, “God gives us his gifts so we share them freely. It is privilege to take what God gives us and share with those who have less. Generous giving is not only a help to those in need, it is a virtuous act. Generous, cheerful giving is actually an act of worship that honors a God that loves us so much. In a word, giving is sacramental. It is an outward, visible sign of our inward spiritual disposition. God’s abundant overflowing grace surrounds us and provides us for all our needs. May our lifestyle and may our own sacrificial giving supply the needs for others who have less.” Starting tomorrow, personalized letters will be sent from the Bishop’s Office inviting parishioners to donate to the Appeal. During the weekend of Sept. 9-10, Lay Appeal Chairpersons will speak at Masses to encourage participation. Bulletin announcements will be made for parishioners to understand more about the Appeal. During Masses on the first weekend of October, pastors will give a homily on behalf of the Appeal. During weekend Masses of Oct. 14-15, the In-Pew Commitment Weekend will take place in each parish to invite parishioners to make a pledge or donation. To make the Appeal a success, the work and commitment of the pastors and lay appeal chairpersons are essential and have been proven through past Appeals and Partners in Faith, the diocesan capital and endowment campaign conducted in 2013. Last year, priests of the Paterson Diocese offered Appeal pledges, personally giving an average gift $776. To encourage the priests, Msgr. James Mahoney, diocesan vicar general and pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Chatham Township, said, “When we follow the plan (of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal) good things are going to happen. It’s really that simple. It’s meant to provide the least stress for pastors. If our parishioners don’t hear about it from the pastors, they won’t pick it up. The BAA does tremendous work in the Diocese. It helps us with our work of Catholic Charities. When people are asked what are they interested in often, it is supporting the work of Catholic Charities and this is a way of doing that. It’s helping with seminarian education, elementary schools and our retired priests. It’s things that touches peoples lives and sharing with them.” One parish that has had great success with the Bishop’s Annual Appeal is Assumption Parish in Morristown. Bob Rohr, who has served as lay appeal chairperson for 11 years, spoke at the meeting and encouraged everyone to “follow the plan” provided by the Development Office. He spoke about the importance of the In-Pew Commitment Weekend. “At first, it seemed uncomfortable to go through the process of the In-Pew Commitment weekend,” Rohr said. “But then I became a believer because of the increases we have seen. We heard from so many people who may have not been registered parishioners or may not be engaged in a giving program, who said to me, ‘It is so convenient for this In-Pew Commitment weekend to be held. The BAA information is something I might have gotten in the mail but didn’t see. Now, it’s right here in the pew for me to see.’” The largest percentage of the Appeal supports diocesan Catholic Charities agencies. Each year, these agencies provide help to tens of thousands of people in need. Donations support a variety of programs and services in all three counties of the diocese. They include day care and extended day care for children of working poor families assisted transportation for the elderly and medically frail, individual and family counseling, emergency food banks, adult day care for economically disadvantaged seniors, housing and case management for persons with HIV/AIDS, group homes for adults with disabilities, family support and case-management for families with developmentally and intellectually disabled adults, substance abuse counseling, legal services for low income immigrants, programs for at risk youth and much more. Because the Appeal helps Catholic Charities immensely, there is a speakers’ network of representatives from the agencies, who are available to speak at parishes and share the good news about how important the Appeal is to their ministries. In addition to these agencies, the Appeal will provide funding to Catholic school students who live in inner-city areas. The Appeal helps fund financial aid to assist families to afford Catholic school education, technology upgrades to enhance the academic programs offered in the schools and support of school activities. Also, the Appeal helps funds education for diocesan seminarians. This is especially important since the number of seminarians has increased dramatically in recent years, along with the cost of formation. The Appeal also assists Nazareth Village, the diocesan priests’ retirement residence in Chester, helping priests who have faithful served in the Diocese for decades. Similar to appeals in the past, parish rebates will be given to parishes that raise money over their Appeal goal. Half the amount received in cash over the parish goal is returned to parishes for their own needs. More than $650,000 was returned to parishes from last year’s BAA. Parishioners are invited to visit these ministries such as Catholic Charities agencies or Nazareth Village to see firsthand where donations are being used. Funds raised in the Paterson Diocese stay in the Paterson Diocese. To provide financial support to the 2016 BAA, there are several ways to help: one-time gifts or pledges paid over several months with reminders; credit card contributions, or online contributions at www.2017appeal.org. [Information: www.rcdop.org or contact the Diocese’s Development Office (973) 777-8818, ext. 215.]
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