As we look ahead to a new year, the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) would like to thank each of you for your generous support of our 2023 campaign. Unfortunately, because this article was submitted mid-December, ahead of our final 2023 ACA tally, we are not able to give you the final ACA progress to goal numbers. We can, however, provide you with a good approximation. While we recognize that some people wait until the end of the year to make their donations as of December 14th , we have received $2,547,121 and are at 94.34% of our goal, with 15% of our parishioners having donated. We are very grateful for this accomplishment, as this year has presented a number of challenges for many of us, ranging from unemployment and sickness, to the high cost of essentials and the continuing effects of steep inflation. We know how much our parishioners have sacrificed to donate to the ACA, and we are grateful.
We are also very appreciative of the directors, staff and volunteers who work tirelessly each day being the hands and feet of Christ at our ACA-supported ministries and programs. While we are all called by Jesus to love one another as He loves us, many of us cannot directly help the homeless, teach the faith or comfort the physically and spiritually burdened, so we are very thankful that our ministries and programs are doing this important work on our behalf. Whether it be providing food or essentials to those in need, connecting with those searching for spiritual guidance, educating our youth and seminarians, supporting those dealing with sickness or instilling our faith in our children, the work of our ministries is endless and reaches many.
During the year, when I either cross paths with or indirectly hear from those who benefited from the ACA, I am always delighted by their great appreciation for the assistance they have received from the myriad of ACA-supported ministries and programs:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to educate us with the marriage preparation course. We learned so much about ourselves, and about each other. Your personal stories/advice were very refreshing and inspiring!”
— Couple, Catholic Marriage Preparation Class
Thank you so much to all of the donors of the Annual Catholic Appeal for their continuing great generosity during my time of priestly formation! While recently speaking with a group of eighth graders in faith formation, I was asked if I have to pay for seminary. I explained, as I have in the past, that I am able to go free of cost because of the generosity of so many people back home. Thank you again for your financial support, and beyond this, thank you for your prayers, which have meant more to me than I can probably ever know on this side of heaven and earth.”
— Deacon Alex Pandolfe, Mount St. Mary Seminary
“Thank God for the kind people who work here and the volunteers that are always so nice giving me food, letting me take a shower and doing so much more to help me.”
— Leon, St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich
“Thank you so much for sending this care-giver prayer. I have used this several times, and especially from July on when my mom was steadily declining. I even use it with the residents that I see at the nursing home. It works wonders for them! “
— Barbara, Care-giver Spirituality Ministry
“We are so grateful that we are able to continue our cultural and religious celebrations in this country. Sometimes, we feel lost because we don't know the language. Everything is different for us. Being able to continue our customs and traditions is very helpful.”
— Participant, Office of Hispanic Ministry
“I feel like they are my friends. When I need food or baby supplies, they help me.”
— Marsha, Catholic Charities
“The care we receive at St. Joseph Living Center is excellent and so caring. I also am glad I can attend Mass when I feel up to it. It’s hard being away from my family, but the staff here are very nice.”
— Resident, St. Joseph Living Center
As we kick off the 2024 Annual Catholic Appeal, One Faith, One Family, let us recall the words of Jesus: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister.” (Mt 12:50) We truly are a family of faith. This year’s ACA will be launched on March 2-3 with the showing of Bishop Cote’s video asking each of us to help this year as best we are able. The following weekend, March 9-10, parishioners are asked to make their ACA commitment by bringing their completed pledge envelopes to church and placing them in the collection. For those parishioners who did not receive a packet in the mail, they can find pledge envelopes and brochures at their church.
Thank you for your continued assistance. Please keep the ACA, and the many ministries and programs it supports, in your prayers. If you need more information or would like to make a gift, please visit our website at www.norwichdiocesedevelopment.org, or contact our ACA campaign manager, Heather Harris, at email@example.com or 860.886.1928, ext.111.
May God continue to bless you and your families.
By Mary Ellen Mahoney