Annual Diocesan Appeal opens April 6-7; video to be shown at all parish Masses

This year's theme and poster image for the Annual Diocesan Appeal are inspired by the Gospel story of Jesus' multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000.

Gifts to the 2019 Annual Diocesan Appeal — which opens in parishes across the Diocese of Peoria next weekend, April 6-7 — will not only transform the lives of people the donors may never meet, but they may do the same for someone very close to home:

The givers themselves.

So says Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in promoting this year’s appeal that bears the theme “Sharing God’s Gifts; Transforming Lives.”

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, gives a blessing in this screen grab from the close of a promotional video for the 2019 Annual Diocesan Appeal.

“The lives that are transformed are not only those who are supported by the appeal,” says the bishop in a six-minute video to be shown at all Masses on appeal weekend, “but the lives of you and me who give for this work.”

The work supported by the appeal includes the diocese’s many ministries and apostolates — including Catholic Charities, Catholic education and faith formation, pro-life efforts, Hispanic ministry, and the recruitment and training of priests and permanent deacons. The goal of all efforts, said the bishop, is to draw people nearer to “the greatest gift any of us have — to know Jesus Christ.”

The monetary goal of this year’s appeal is $6.745 million, an increase of 2.5 percent from a year ago.

PARISHES ALSO BENEFIT

The allocation of the funds is described in a brochure that has been mailed to every registered household in the Diocese of Peoria. In addition to providing support for diocese-wide pastoral care ministry, social outreach, vocational development, Catholic schools and Newman Centers, and more, gifts to the appeal also benefit local parishes. All funds generated by parishes beyond their individual goals are returned in the form of rebates.

This year, more than $515,000 was returned to 86 parishes for local use — up from 83 parishes the previous year, according to Sister Salezia Rudyova, FSJB, staff assistant in the Office of Stewardship and Development.

“I am very happy to say that sacrificial giving for the work of Christ is alive and well in the Diocese of Peoria,” says Bishop Jenky in the promotional video. He notes the success of every appeal since the campaign was established by Bishop Edward O’Rourke in 1986 to replace a tax on parishes. And he urges Catholics of the diocese to “ask the Holy Spirit what you should do to support Christ’s work, share God’s gifts, and transform lives.”

“A BEAUTIFUL SPIRITUAL JOURNEY”

A person whose life has been transformed by her first year of leadership in appeal planning is Debbie Benz, associate director of development.

“It’s been a beautiful spiritual journey for me personally,” she told The Catholic Post, expressing gratitude to all who have assisted the effort. “Professionally, it calls to mind all the good work that the diocese does. What a gift!”

She particularly thanked Sam Mangieri of Fiat Films, whose video efforts lend a different look to this year’s three promotional ADA films — one for parishes, another for youth, and a third for Spanish-speaking Catholics. While still photos were a staple in previous years, the video this year includes moving footage from various locations.

“Sam did a beautiful job of capturing several of the ministries,” said Benz.

Among the ministries profiled are Catholic Charities, Newman Centers, the Totus Tuus summer youth program, Emmaus Days, spiritual healing retreats, and “Escuela de la Fe,” a diocese-sponsored “School of Faith” serving the Spanish-speaking community.

LIKE THE LOAVES AND FISHES

Benz and Sister Salezia explained that this year’s theme and poster image are inspired by the Gospel story of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000.

“Like the boy who was able to give those fish and loaves of bread, we may feel ‘I’m just one small person in this huge world or even within the diocese. How is my gift going to change somebody’s life?’” said Sister Salezia. “But once it becomes part of something larger, then it changes a lot of people’s lives. And giving should change our lives.”

She said that one change in this year’s appeal is that those who make pledges will have two more months to fulfill them — payments can be set up through next February.

Acknowledging that the Catholic Church has faced a challenging year, Benz and Sister Salezia emphasized that no monies donated to the ADA have been, or will be, used to defray expenses related to misconduct issues.

“We don’t want people to speculate about that,” said Benz.

Payments may be made by check, credit/debit card, direct debit from your checking/savings account or online. A list of frequently asked questions about the appeal, and links to the three promotional videos, can be found on the diocesan website at cdop.org/ADA2019.

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