Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Archbishop Asks For Support Of 2012 Annual Appeal

By MARY ANNE CASTRANIO, Staff Writer | Published February 2, 2012

The 2012 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal was announced in parishes this past weekend, with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory by letter asking Catholics to support this annual fundraising effort “so that the many ministries operating in central and north Georgia may continue to bring knowledge and practice of the faith as well as provide material relief, counsel, hope and joy to our community.”

The theme of this year’s Annual Appeal is, “Do everything for the glory of God,” which Archbishop Gregory said “speaks to God’s call to surrender all we do and all we are to our Lord.”

The primary fundraising effort for the ministries, programs and services of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Annual Appeal provides the funds needed to support the work of the Catholic Church in the areas of ministerial, pastoral outreach, education, formation and discipleship, and Catholic Charities.

The upcoming weekend of Feb. 11-12 is Commitment Weekend, when Catholics are asked to consider their support of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal in 2012.

The goal for this year’s campaign is $7.09 million.

For the second year this year’s campaign began in January and will conclude on Dec. 31. During the Appeal, parishes will hold an in-pew pledge process on the two weekends prior to Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday. The in-pew pledge process reaches parishioners directly at Mass, where they are directed in filling out the forms using a step-by-step method.

According to Steve Siler, executive director of stewardship for the archdiocese, “The Archbishop’s Annual Appeal continues to support archdiocesan offices and ministries that are vital to the mission of the Catholic Church in north and central Georgia.”

He added, “A gift to the 2012 Appeal is one way to join with other Catholics in expressing one’s gratitude to God for the gifts one has received. Money brings many privileges and benefits, but Jesus cautions us to beware of wealth’s power to lure our hearts away from God. Our sacrificial giving to the wider church through the Appeal, to our parish and to other charitable organizations can serve as a discipline to help our hearts stay rooted in God.”

Every parish has an individual monetary goal for the Annual Appeal, which is determined by an objective formula—8 percent of the offertory from the fiscal year that ended 1.5 years prior to the start of the 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 tax-free to be used for local needs as determined by the parish. If a parish does not reach its goal, the shortfall must be made up from the parish operating funds.

Payments can be made online and can also be paid in 10 monthly installments. All pledges must be paid by Dec. 31. The stewardship office will send monthly reminders to those pledging.

Siler said, “The 2011 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal was the most successful ever. Over 70 parishes exceeded their goals and are receiving rebates of more than $1.7 million. Over 40,000 households made gifts to the Appeal—nearly double any previous year.”

Four Key Areas Benefit From Appeal

The programs that benefit from the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal comprise four major areas, including ministerial; pastoral outreach; education, formation and discipleship; and Catholic Charities.

In the ministerial area, the vocations program is projected to receive $3,100,000, or 44 percent of the overall goal. Of that total, $2.04 million is slated for seminarian education, and $250,000 will go to the permanent diaconate office. Priest support and retirement care will receive $660,000 and $150,000 for continuing formation such as conferences and other types of education.

In pastoral outreach, eight areas of ministry are supported by the Appeal for a total of $1,640,000 or 23 percent of the overall total, including the Respect Life Ministry, which receives $70,000; Office of Hispanic Ministry, $100,000; Social Justice Ministries, $140,000; Prison and Jail Ministry, $150,000; the Metropolitan Tribunal, $480,000; Hospital Ministry, $40,000; Office of Black Catholic Ministry, $130,000; Office of Child and Youth Protection, $140,000; Ministry for People with Disabilities, $100,000; Parish and Mission Support, $270,000; and cemeteries, $20,000.

For education, formation and discipleship, which overall receives $1.95 million or 27 percent of the overall goal, under-resourced school support will receive $660,000; parish pre-school programs, $40,000; campus ministry, $430,000; religious education, $240,000; evangelization, $80,000; youth and young adult ministry, $160,000; family life and pastoral care ministry, $160,000; and Eucharistic renewal, $180,000.

Catholic Charities Atlanta will receive $400,000, or 6 percent of the total goal, for its varied programs, including refugee resettlement services, which will receive $40,000; disaster preparedness and response, $30,000; immigration services, $50,000; counseling services, $120,000; and family stabilization, $160,000.

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

Siler addressed the role of the economy in relation to the Annual Appeal: “Though aspects of the economy—job creation and the like—are sluggish, and some are still suffering from joblessness, many people are well-employed and don’t see their spending hampered.”

He said, “We are not asking those who are truly struggling to make a gift that they simply don’t have. We are asking those who have the ability—many are still taking vacations, buying those new electronic devices, or affording that $4 cup of coffee each day—to consider what God has given them and make a return in gratitude to God for their blessings. That return may take the form of giving to the Church and to other charitable causes that stir one’s conscience.”

Archbishop Gregory urged Catholics to be generous in responding to the Appeal: “In light of your continuous generosity to this archdiocese and on behalf of those who serve in the ministries supported by the Appeal, may I echo St. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: ‘How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account?’ (1Thess 9). May God bless you abundantly with peace and joy!”