Office of Development • 197 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360 • Phone (860) 886-1928 • Fax (860) 886-2651
ACA Ministry Fair
"Our Faith Calls US to ACTION"
by Mary Ellen Mahoney


What better theme for this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal than “Our Faith Calls US To ACTION!” By providing financial support for the Diocese’s nearly 30 ministries, the ACA is truly a perfect example of how to put one’s faith into action.  This year’s Ministry Fair, held at the Holiday Inn, Norwich, on a very chilly March 12th, provided an ideal setting for our ministries to showcase all the good they do each day to help our Diocesan families and community neighbors. Each year the Ministry Fair brings together ministry representatives and donors from all corners of our Diocese to an alternating location. Last year, the fair was held in Cromwell.  Diocesan ministry directors and coordinators arrived early Sunday morning to prepare their booths and before long they were sharing their enthusiasm for their ministries with the many donors.
Donors and ministry directors alike look forward to our Ministry Fair each Spring as it is an opportunity for parishioners to become better acquainted with the many ministries supported by the Diocese, thanks in part to the funds so generously donated to the ACA. This year, close to 400 donors energetically moved from booth to booth, learning first hand how their donations allow our ministries to continue their vital outreach in our communities. Each attendee was given a magnet in the shape of a cell phone containing the contact numbers for each of our ministries as well as the address of the Diocesan website.
Each year, ministry representatives tell donors about the crucial role the ACA plays in their ministry.  Lynn Bellware, Case Manager at St. Joseph Living Center, Windham explained, “We greatly appreciate the support we receive from the Diocese which allows us to better serve people in need throughout the Diocese in need of short term and long term nursing care.” She finds the fair to be a wonderful opportunity for her to conduct outreach, “I am able to share our ministry with others in the Diocese as well as learn more about their ministries. It allows St Joe’s to be a part of a larger community in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christcentered evangelization, discipleship, and friendship, in which they lead others to do the same.”
Once everyone was seated, Bishop Cote welcomed all in attendance noting that the attendance was by far the greatest of any ministry fair and that he wanted to “say thank you to each donor for their presence as well as for the support you give to all of our ministries here today.” Bishop Cote also extended his gratitude to the ministry directors, coordinators and volunteers for their continued commitment to their ministries and all of the many ways they help our friends and neighbors.  Last year Diocesan ministries provided more than 600,000 meals, helped more than 4,200 people with emergency basic needs, educated more than 14,000 students in faith, gave medical care to more than 5,000 Haitians, and prepared close to 100 couples for marriage.
Adding to the spirit of the day, Bishop Cote invited Jillian Corbin, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich and Ron Krom, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul Middletown to join him at the podium and presented them each with the Patrici-Anne Award for Distinguished Service to the Diocese of Norwich. This is the highest level award bestowed upon religious laity. Reading from the award, Bishop Cote stated that, “This award is an expression of our affection for you and the esteem in which you are held by colleagues, friends and our Norwich Diocesan Family.” He continued, “ … you have distinguished yourself and the ministry you direct by serving the Lord’s neediest brothers and sisters… Your legacy is a caring spirit, proven leadership, indefatigable perseverance, unrelenting zeal, and unyielding love for your sisters and brothers who live in poverty.”
Ministry Fair attendees; Diocesan School Office Ministry represented by Diocesan Superintendent Henry Fiore Jr.; Jillian Corbin and Ron Krom receive the Patrici-Anne award from Bishop Cote for their dedicated St. Vincent de Paul Ministry service.
Jillian has led St. Vincent de Paul Place for the past 9 years, while Ron has been at the helm of St. Vincent de Paul Middletown for the past 10 years. Both Jillian and Ron work hard providing meals, food pantry items, housing and shelter referrals, energy assistance, as well as financial counseling and oversight to the needy
of the Norwich and Middletown areas, respectively. Their presence and that of their staff is a lifeline to many of our neighbors desperately struggling to meet the challenges of daily life.
Each year many attendees share their positive feeling about both the ACA and the Ministry Fair. For Lois Kane, a parishioner at St. Patrick Church, Mystic, the Ministry Fair was a first time experience that she truly enjoyed, “ I was sincerely impressed by all the booths. This has been a realization of how important the Catholic Church is to so many, helping to meet the needs of our community.” John Legato, a parishioner at St. Andrew Church, Colchester also said it “was great to see all of the initiatives and services that the Diocese is involved in.” John noted that the Ministry Fair aptly reflected this year’s ACA theme, “Our Faith Calls US to ACTION!  “ From soup kitchens, Outreach to Haiti, Catholic Charities and more, it is clear that people are very involved and demonstrating their faith in action” John commented.

The Ministry Fair is one of the most important events for the Annual Catholic Appeal, a major source of critical financial support for our many Diocesan ministries. Through the kindness and generosity of donors from all of our 78 parishes and missions, last year’s ACA raised close to 3 million dollars. These monies enable our ministries to assist our neighbors to meet the challenges of daily life by helping them with their physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs. The 2017 ACA campaign, “Our Faith Calls US to ACTION!” began in parishes on the weekend of March 25-26. For more information on the ACA, to watch this year’s video or to donate online, please go to www. or contact the Development Office at (860) 886-1928.
Photos: Top left: Ed and Genie Dypa; Bottom right: Joanne and Ralph Coligan.


Annual Catholic Appeal 20167

ACA 2017

ACA 2017

Faithful Stewardship