By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published January 27, 2017
ATLANTA—The theme of the 2017 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, to be officially launched in parishes and missions during commitment weekend Feb. 18-19, is “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.”
Donations made to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal provide funding for the programs, ministries and services of the Catholic Church in north and central Georgia. The goal for this year’s Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is $8 million.
Parishioners can indicate their level of support during Masses held commitment weekend by filling out pledge cards.
In announcing the appeal, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory urged all to reflect on their personal experiences of God’s love and to learn more about the ministries supported.
Archbishop Gregory said he frequently witnesses the efforts of love made possible through the appeal.
“It is love, that concrete action of helping others, reaching out to the poor, and serving all, that I am privileged to see every day in the Archdiocese of Atlanta,” he said.
This year’s theme is taken from chapter 19 of Leviticus, calling us to share God’s bountiful love with others.
Five main areas benefit from the appeal
The appeal supports five major aspects of the work of the Catholic Church in the Atlanta Archdiocese: ministerial, which receives $3.18 million; pastoral outreach, $1.68 million; education, formation and discipleship, $2.14 million; Catholic Charities, $500,000; and administrative costs, $500,000.
Vocations Office provides support and guidance
The ministerial area includes seminarian education, permanent diaconate, priest support and retirement care and priest continuing formation.
“Week by week, I meet with men and women who are answering a divine call,” said Father Tim Hepburn, director of vocations for the archdiocese. “It’s the call of Jesus and he’s been calling people for millennia and I feel privileged that I have a ringside seat to his grace.”
At this time, there are 55 men studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Five candidates are to be ordained transitional deacons in the spring and two new priests will be ordained. A third priesthood candidate is spending a year in pastoral ministry and will be ordained in 2018.
Young people benefit from appeal
The youth and young adult ministries of the archdiocese are also supported with a commitment of $165,000 in funds.
“We’re very aware that it’s getting harder and harder to continue the dialogue of faith with our family members,” said Katherine Angulo, associate director of youth ministry with the archdiocese’s Office of Formation and Discipleship. “For that reason, we are working with different tools so you can bring them back into that dialogue and improve the conversation so hope can be back in our homes.”
Amy Daniels, OFD director, said their mission is “to equip Catholic leaders for service in the pastoral task of evangelization and catechesis.” Some of the numerous programs and initiatives made possible by the Annual Appeal this past year include a summer evangelization program for young adults, “On the Deck Does Alpha”; a magazine for confirmation age teens, “The Mark”; and six Catholic Parent Revivals, a program in English and Spanish that fosters communications between parents and children. Daniels said that OFD also sponsors and subsidizes “parish leaders in cohorts to earn certificates in catechesis and youth ministry,” through the University of Dayton. OFD has also supported a successful three-year certificate in pastoral theology in Spanish through the University of Dallas.
The Office of Formation and Discipleship will also receive $275,000 for the religious education work of the office; $225,000 to assist with the marriage and family ministry of the office; and $225,000 for the pastoral care ministry of the office, which collaborates with ministries and parishes to support resources for addiction, bereavement, domestic violence, military outreach and pornography help as well as crisis pregnancy, post abortion healing, and other specialized needs.
Helping families in need
Catholic Charities Atlanta will receive $500,000 from the Archbishop’s Appeal to fund refugee resettlement, immigration services, and family stabilization programs such as foreclosure intervention, counseling, language instruction and veterans case management.
Vanessa Russell, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta, said she is thankful for the continued support of its programs and services through the Annual Appeal. She said, “We serve nearly 17,000 individuals in need every year. Our services build bridges of hope, mercy and understanding in response to the cries of those in need.”
Russell described the mission of her organization as a mission of help. “The statistics on children who live in poverty and families that are unstable in the metro area are disheartening. Since 1953, CCA has provided help and created hope for those in need by providing professional services that help eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency, stabilize families and transform lives. We do this through programs such as in-home parenting, mental health counseling, case management, financial and literacy education as well as legal services for the victimized and vulnerable.”
Russell said, “At CCA, we live out our faith every day with every client we help and through the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, you can too.”
Goals set for every parish
Every parish has a monetary goal for the appeal, which is 8 percent of the offertory from the fiscal year ending one and a half years prior to the appeal start.
Ninety percent of monies collected above the parish goal are returned to the parish and 10 percent is allocated to that parish’s endowment fund at the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia.
Parishes not reaching their goal must make up the shortfall from operating funds.
More than 1 million Catholics live in the archdiocese and are served by 214 diocesan priests and 75 religious order priests. There are 260 permanent deacons in the archdiocese and 56 seminarians. There are also 14 men’s religious congregations and 21 congregations of women religious in the archdiocese. Catholic schools, both diocesan and independent, serve more than 11,640 students with more than 46,000 young people participating in parish religious education programs and college campus ministries. The outreach and evangelization of the archdiocese impacts the lives of 7 million people in Georgia.
In a video about the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, Archbishop Gregory shared the words of St. Augustine—“What does love look like? It has hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
Seminarian education $2,100,000
Permanent diaconate $330,000
Priest support and retirement care $640,000
Priest continuing formation $110,000
Pastoral outreach: $1,680,000
Life, Dignity and Justice
Respect Life ministry $115,000
Justice and Peace ministries $115,000
Prison and Jail ministry $115,000
Disabilities ministry $115,000
Intercultural and Ethnic Diversity $320,000
Metropolitan Tribunal $420,000
Parish and mission support $265,000
Hospital ministry $50,000
Office of Child and Youth Protection $115,000
Education, formation and discipleship: $2,140,000
Parish preschool programs $50,000
Campus ministry $535,000
Religious education $275,000
Youth and young adult ministry $165,000
Marriage and family ministry $225,000
Pastoral care ministry $225,000
Eucharistic Congress $165,000
Under-resourced school support $500,000
Catholic Charities: $500,000
Refugee Resettlement Services $150,000
Immigration Services $150,000
Family stabilization $200,000
Veterans case management, housing counseling, foreclosure intervention, English language instruction and counseling
Administrative costs: $500,000
Frequently asked questions
What is the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal?
The Archdiocese of Atlanta conducts an annual campaign (as do most dioceses in the United States), to help fund the work of its offices and ministries. The appeal commences in January and concludes in December each year. The appeal includes an in-pew pledge process, to be held Feb. 18-19.
How do gifts benefit parishes outside of metropolitan Atlanta?
The offices of the archdiocese are available to provide support to all parishes, regardless of location. The appeal funded the education of priests currently serving your parish. Catechists who are teaching the children of your parish receive training and support through our Office of Formation and Discipleship. Engaged couples receive premarital counseling retreats. These are examples of the variety of services provided by archdiocesan offices and ministries to parishes and parishioners across the archdiocese.
What should I give to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal?
Jesus himself gave us a guideline, “Share from your substance, not from your surplus.” You are the best judge of what this means for you—not just what you can afford, but what God is calling you to do. We do offer a guide—at least 1 percent of your income to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, 5 percent to your parish, and 4 percent to other charities or second collections, but always according to your means.
I already support my parish, isn’t that enough?
The appeal provides the opportunity to support the wider Church family, the Archdiocese of Atlanta, as well as our own parish ministries. When we say the Creed, we reaffirm that we are members of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” We are saying that we believe that every parish and every parishioner is responsible not only for his or her parish, but also for the wellbeing of the Church throughout the archdiocese and world.
What is the in-pew process and why are we using it?
The in-pew process is designed to reach parishioners directly at Mass. Parishioners will be directed through the process by the pastor or his designee as representatives of the archbishop. It is used because it gives parishioners who may not be registered in a parish or who did not respond to the direct mail piece an opportunity to give.