Annual Diocesan Appeal to be conducted weekend of April 18-19

By: By Tom Dermody

Saying “it is our responsibility to share the Good News, and not just hold it to ourselves,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has encouraged generous financial support for the 2015 Annual Diocesan Appeal.

The appeal, which is the major source of revenue for the ministries and agencies of the Diocese of Peoria, will be conducted in all parishes the weekend of April 18-19. This year’s theme is “Bringing Every Family to Jesus.”

A diocesan goal of $6,035,000 has been established. In addition, every parish has its own goal. Funds collected beyond the local goal are returned for parish needs and projects.

An 11-minute video explaining the Annual Diocesan Appeal and introducing five persons who share aspects of their own faith journeys will be shown at all Masses next weekend.

Among those featured on the video are a Catholic school teacher from Bloomington, a priest from the Quad Cities area, and a family from Champaign.

Sherry Hoffman, from Immaculate Conception Parish in Manito, tells how persons in the diocese’s Tribunal put her at ease during the annulment process, telling her “we are all about bringing people back to the sacraments.”

“I can’t tell you how meaningful those words were to me,” said Hoffman. “It was like God speaking to me,” she continued, describing her return to the sacraments including “receiving my first Communion in 20-some years.”

Cathy Trowbridge credits Rachel’s Vineyard, a post-abortion healing retreat sponsored by the diocese, as a “day that forever changed my life.” Nearly three decades earlier, she had an abortion at age 17 and had kept it secret, living with the memory.

“I went in with a broken spirit and not knowing that I had a little child in heaven that had been praying for me for a long time,” said Trowbridge. “During the course of that weekend, through the living Scriptures and the kind and compassionate counselors and leadership, I was able to be ‘reunited’ with my child and most especially receive the love of Christ and his mercy.”

In the video, Bishop Jenky explains how and why the diocese supports those programs and so many others.

“A lot of what the diocese does, a lot of what the Curia of our diocese exists for, is to support the work of parishes, the work of our schools, the work of our hospitals, the work of our Newman Centers,” said Bishop Jenky.

“We have Catholic Charities to directly feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick,” he added. Describing further ways Jesus Christ is announced in central Illinois, Bishop Jenky said “the diocese tries to support all the good that goes on throughout our 26 counties.”

To that end, funds collected in this year’s appeal will be allocated as follows:
— Catholic schools and religious education, 28 percent
— Pastoral care, 26 percent
— Vocational development, 17 percent
— Social outreach, 12 percent
— Diocesan administration, 8 percent
— Diocesan and national support, 5 percent
— Operation of the annual appeal, 3 percent
— Required assessments, 1 percent

“I ask everyone in our faith community to give their hearts and their lives to Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Jenky, and then to give of their time, talent and treasure “so that the work of Christ might flourish here in the Heartland.”

The appeal is planned and coordinated by the diocesan Office of Development and Stewardship. Following the retirement of Sandy Staes, who assisted parishes in appeal planning for many years, the 2015 appeal is being managed by Sister Salezia Rudyoba, FSJB.

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