Annual Diocesan Appeal is under way; seeks $6,216,000 to support ministries
When the 2016 Annual Diocesan Appeal opens this weekend in parishes around the Diocese of Peoria seeking funding for diocesan ministries, it will also educate on mercy and stewardship — with a special focus on the next generation of Catholics.
“Blessed are the Merciful” is the theme of this year’s appeal, to be conducted in most parishes April 9-10. The goal is $6,216,000.
“Your sacrificial giving makes the spiritual and corporal works of mercy a reality,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in a 12-minute promotional video to be shown during Masses this weekend. “You fund all those givers and servers that bring the Lord to everyone they meet.”
The video highlights six examples of diocesan ministries, using personal testimonies describing their impact on lives in central Illinois.
“Bishop Jenky doesn’t want any baby to go home from the hospital without their basic needs met,” explains Kay Gray, representing the Christ Child Society which supports new mothers in need at several locations in the diocese.
There are also testimonies by Catholic Charities Faith Community Nurse, a parish catechist, the mother of a priest regarding vocations support, and a couple assisted by the diocese’s marriage tribunal. A woman who underwent an abortion decades ago tells of the healing she and her husband experienced at a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.
“Mercy doesn’t happen by accident,” said Msgr. Stanley Deptula, describing the daily efforts to feed the hungry at Sophia’s Kitchen in downtown Peoria. “A generous gift to the diocesan appeal to further the church’s mission is my decision today to follow Christ, to help my brothers and sisters, to serve those who need the Gospel,” he says in closing the video.
YOUNG CATHOLICS EDUCATED, INVITED
This year’s Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA), conducted during the Holy Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, has also been designed to introduce concepts of stewardship to young Catholics.
“At the ADA advisory board meeting last fall, Bishop Jenky asked that the 2016 ADA be extended to reach our young Catholics in elementary and high schools, religious education classes and Newman Centers,” wrote John Gibson, diocesan director of development and stewardship, in a letter mailed to all pastors in early March.
“His goal was not so much to raise funds, but more to introduce stewardship to our young people,” continued Gibson. “He wants them to experience giving and sharing the gifts that God has entrusted to them. If they learn to find joy in giving, they will become lifelong givers.”
To that end, videos have been produced specifically for viewing by grade school, high school, and college audiences. Guidelines on “Teaching Stewardship to Children” have been mailed to parishes and schools, emphasizing gratitude, responsibility and that everything we have is a gift from God.
After viewing the video in a classroom or school assembly setting, students will be invited to take an active part in the appeal by considering sharing a gift of their own.
“You are the future of the Church here in Central Illinois,” writes Bishop Jenky on the pledge card to be distributed to elementary, secondary and religious education students. “My hope is that you will ask God what he wants you to do with the gifts you have been given and then share them with the less fortunate.”
Donations received from students do not go toward parish ADA goals, but all will be personally acknowledged by Bishop Jenky.
Individual parishes have been assigned goals by the Office of Development and Stewardship, which plans and coordinates the drive. Funds collected beyond that goal are returned for parish needs and projects.
A fifth promotional video was produced for Spanish-speaking Catholics. It is narrated by Father Fredi Gomez-Torres, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Moline, and St. Mary and St. Anne parishes, East Moline.