Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


North Georgia Catholics ‘Called To Share’ Gifts In Annual Appeal

By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer | Published October 11, 2007

“A disciple’s response” is the invitation for this year’s Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. And as the annual fundraising event to support the work of the Catholic Church in North Georgia commences, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has made a simple plea to Catholics in this rapidly growing archdiocese: a “call to share” the many gifts God has provided, to take care of those in need.

In a recent letter about the Appeal, he gave a compelling definition of discipleship: “Whatever you do, wherever you go in your life journey, discipleship is a practice of building on the foundation of the Lord, by doing justice, loving mercy, walking humbly with the Lord.”

He reminded Catholics that by generously giving to this appeal, they are “helping to sustain many ministries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta that an individual parish is not able to provide.” Archbishop Gregory said that from these ministries flow the heart of Catholic social justice and compassionate work. “Through the ministries of the Archdiocese you are literally taking care of the stranger among us, the poor, the disenfranchised, the orphan, the widow—and our own brothers and sisters in faith who long to learn more about Christ and to be nourished by His life and teaching.”

This yearly campaign provides the funds needed to subsidize the work of the Catholic Church in the areas of vocations, charities, education and pastoral outreach.

The goal for this year’s campaign is $6.4 million.

Sunday, Oct. 28, is Treasure Commitment Sunday in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, when Catholics are asked to consider both their support of their parishes and of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal and to make a commitment to help both over the next 12 months.

Rev. Mr. Jim Flanagan, an Atlanta seminarian who will be ordained a priest next year, said, “The support of the people from Atlanta for our vocations program has been absolutely overwhelming. There is no possible way that the formation of all of our seminarians for the Archdiocese could be accomplished without that assistance.”

He added, “This year’s Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is vital to continuing that endeavor as more men are formed after the heart of Christ. I know that each of the seminarians joins me in thanking all who so generously give of their material and spiritual resources to the training of future priests.”

To Ed McCoy, the Annual Appeal subsidizes the services of his department, the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities.

“For the past 40 years the archdiocese has held an annual weekend retreat for about 75 individuals who have cognitive impairments,” he said. “The registration fees that they and their families pay cover half the costs of this retreat. Funding from the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal makes up the rest.”

Another area in which the Annual Appeal is vital is for children with visual and hearing impairments, he said. “There is not one parish in the entire archdiocese with resources to provide Braille religious education books. And only one parish in the archdiocese has the ability to provide sign language interpreters needed for the faith formation of a Catholic child who is deaf. Only by working together can we make this happen in every parish—and the way we make it happen is the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.”

The campaign this year will again include materials in both English and Spanish, and a short DVD that highlights some of the ministries that benefit from the Annual Appeal and contains a personal message from Archbishop Gregory to all parishioners. Pastors and parish leaders will receive the DVD and other materials, which are also available on the archdiocesan Web site,

Funds for the appeal come from the donations of Catholics throughout the archdiocese. Every parish and mission has an individual monetary goal for the annual appeal. As each family donates to the appeal, their parish family moves closer to its own goal. When a parish goes over its goal, 100 percent of the extra money goes back to the parish to be used for local needs as determined by the parish.

Lori Clarke, the executive director of development and stewardship for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, shared what the Appeal means for parishioners.

“The Archbishop’s Appeal is really about stewardship. … Stewardship is first and foremost about ‘relationship,’ our relationship with God and His with us. He has given us many blessings, which He expects us to develop and cherish and share. He expects us to share these blessings with others, according to our means, as an expression of our gratefulness to God for His goodness to us. Isn’t it part of human nature to want to give expression to our love for someone?”

Catholics can make a one-time donation or pledge an amount to be given over a 10-month period. Each household is asked to prayerfully consider pledging a tithe of 1 percent of the total annual household income to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. Households that have been especially blessed are asked to consider an even larger gift to support the mission and ministry of Christ through the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Several options are available for contributing gifts to the Annual Appeal. All households of the archdiocese will receive donor pledge forms in the mail, and additional envelopes are available at all parishes and missions. Those donating can use cash or checks, as well as online banking, to make an automatic pledge payment. A credit card option is also available this year, and MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover credit cards can be used to make a gift. Those who work for companies with matching gift programs are also asked to check whether gifts to the Annual Appeal are eligible for matching.

Instructions for contributing are available in the Annual Appeal brochure, as well as at the archdiocesan Web site,, in the Development and Stewardship area.

The programs that benefit from the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal comprise six main areas: vocations, Catholic Charities, Catholic schools, parish mission development, religious education and faith formation, and pastoral outreach.

According to Clarke, “The Archbishop’s Annual Appeal subsidizes 59 percent of the actual cost of the ministry programs outlined in this appeal. This support is vitally important to the Archdiocese’s ability to offer these programs.”

Following is a description of archdiocesan programs that will receive a portion of their total funding from a successful 2008 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

The Office of Vocations, which is educating more than 50 men studying for the priesthood and facilitating the ongoing discernment process for those interested in becoming candidates for priestly formation, is projected to receive $1,850,000.

Under the Permanent Diaconate Office, the diaconal formation program prepares men to be ordained as permanent deacons for the archdiocese. After ordination, the office provides ongoing community support, educational opportunities, retreats and spiritual guidance for those in the permanent diaconate community. This office is projected to receive $150,000.

Under the umbrella of Catholic Charities of Atlanta, Inc., the Pregnancy, Parenting and Adoption Services is projected to receive $240,000; Parish and Social Justice Ministries, $140,000; Legal and Immigration Services, $230,000; Migration and Refugee Services, $80,000; Community Outreach Centers, $200,000; and the Emergency Assistance Program, $390,000.

The Office of Religious Education and Faith Formation assists parishes with age-appropriate religious education and sacramental formation, provides direct programs for some age groups and offers catechetical formation and certification, in Spanish and English, for hundreds of parish catechists. Under the auspices of this office, youth ministry will receive $150,000; young adult formation, $160,000; Hispanic catechesis, $50,000; adult formation and initiation, $65,000; family and children’s ministries, $55,000; catechist formation, $70,000; campus ministry, $370,000; and college age ministry, $80,000.

The Office of Catholic Schools, which assists 15 archdiocesan elementary schools and three archdiocesan high schools by sponsoring a range of administrative, in-service and special support services on an ongoing basis, is projected to receive $220,000.

Parish Mission Development, through which the archdiocese subsidizes, on an as-needed basis, financially struggling missions and smaller parishes to help them meet the pastoral needs of their parish communities, is projected to receive $560,000.

In Pastoral Outreach the following eight areas of ministry are subsidized by the Appeal.

The HIV/AIDS Ministry, which provides educational services to the community as well as spiritual support and counseling to those affected by HIV/AIDS, is projected to receive $90,000.

The Office of Family Life, which offers various Catholic programs for marriage preparation, marriage enrichment, stepfamily living, natural family planning, single parent living, and the training and continuing education of clergy and lay volunteers, is projected to receive $260,000.

The Pro-Life Office coordinates pro-life efforts within the archdiocese, develops, trains and supports parish pro-life committees and acts as an archdiocesan resource for information on pro-life issues. This office is projected to receive $100,000.

The Office of Child and Youth Protection, which promotes awareness of the problem of sexual abuse, establishes training programs, develops policies and procedures around safe environments for children and vulnerable adults in the archdiocese and seeks to provide in a responsible way a charitable and healing response to those who have suffered such abuse, is projected to receive $150,000.

The eucharistic renewal and evangelization program, a partial contribution to the program costs of the annual Eucharistic Congress held by the archdiocese, is projected to receive $80,000.

The Hispanic Ministry Office, which fosters a unity within the parishes of the archdiocese among the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities and serves as a resource for parishes and missions to meet the pastoral, liturgical and social justice needs of the Hispanic population in their areas, is projected to receive $330,000.

The Office for Black Catholic Ministry, which provides works of evangelization, supporting the clergy in efforts to enhance the spiritual life of the black Catholic community and that of the larger Catholic community, is projected to receive $210,000.

The Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, which advocates for Catholics with disabilities to be fully included into the life of the church by providing individualized services and programs, is projected to receive $120,000.

The funds raised for the appeal will be used solely for the programs and ministries listed in the Annual Appeal brochure and on the Web site.

Clarke said, “I have found in traveling around the Archdiocese that the people really do love their Church, and that is reflected in their generous response to the Archbishop’s appeal on behalf of the ministries of the Archdiocese.”

“As Christ’s disciples, we are Called to Share in the work of the building up of the Kingdom of God, doing God’s will and God’s work on earth,” said Archbishop Gregory. “Your prayerful and generous sharing with the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is one way you can live out your baptismal call to be Christ’s disciple.”


For more information, contact your parish or mission or Christine Heusinger at (404) 885-7277. Information on the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal can be found at at in the Development and Stewardship area.