Every spring, Bishop Cote and the ACA hold a dinner to personally thank our Christopher Society donors, those who give $1,000 or more to the Annual Catholic Appeal, for their continued kindness. This year’s dinner was held at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station. No matter the difficulties they, their families or the world is facing, these donors continue to give with compassion and grace, and, in doing so, enable our many ministries and programs to be the hands of Christ to so many in need in our communities. This past year, 615 families made the commitment to be Christophers and together they accounted for close to 50 percent of the ACA goal of $2.7 million.
The evening opened with Mrs. Mary Ellen Mahoney, ACA executive director, welcoming Bishop Cote, Monsignor Janik, invited guests and members of the Christopher Society. Mrs. Mahoney provided a brief synopsis of the 2022 ACA in which she shared how well our ACA-supported ministries and programs rose to the challenge, continuing to meet the needs of our friends and neighbors for spiritual, educational and physical sustenance. She noted that close to 8,000 people received help with basic needs, financial assistance, housing support and help with parenting, while more than 1.3 million meals and meal equivalents were distributed, nearly 9,000 students were educated in faith and hundreds were able to attend programs and seminars through our Office of Faith Events and Spiritual Renewal, bringing people closer to Jesus and giving them strength to face life's challenges. She thanked the Christophers and all ACA donors for their great generosity, noting that the ACA exceeded its goal for the second year in a row, which has not happened since 2007.
Before dinner, Bishop Cote greeted the Christophers, thanking them for their “unfailing support of the Annual Catholic Appeal.” Bishop Cote continued, “You truly do live your faith each and every day and because of your sacrifice and generosity, you keep our ministries doing the work of Christ.” Following dinner, Bishop Cote made a presentation to Mr. Ted and Mrs. Ruth Rossi of the Rossi Foundation and attorney Andrew Becker, of the Padre Pio Foundation of America, for providing the ACA’s first-ever donor matching grant initiative. Bishop Cote said, “The Rossi Foundation and the Padre Pio Foundation of America provided our ACA with a much-needed boost in the last quarter of the year, when they graciously agreed to match 50 cents on the dollar for all new donations that were received between September and December. Based on this initiative, donors came forward with moret than $200,000 in new donations, which the Rossi Foundation and the Padre Pio Foundation of America matched, donating $100,000, and bringing us to our goal.”
The evening concluded on a very happy note when Wayne Gignac, director of the Office of Communications and executive editor of the Four County Catholic magazine, was welcomed to the podium by Mrs. Mahoney, who noted that the Office of Communications is an ACA-supported ministry. She thanked Mr. Gignac for his hard work and his recent launch of the magazine, which has met great success. In the hope of expanding the evangelization component, the Four County Catholic is now sent to all registered parishioners not just ACA donors. “We are receiving a lot of positive feedback and truly appreciate Wayne for spearheading this initiative,” Mrs. Mahoney said.
Mr. Gignac, who is also a published author, professional speaker and magician, gave an entertaining presentation, regaling the audience with his magic and insights. “Remember, that it was often Jesus’ joy that attracted others to Him,” Wayne told the capacity crowd. “His suffering and death were only the last few days of His life. We need to be transformed into joyous Catholics if we ever hope to attract others to the joy of Christ.”
To view the ACA video or learn more about the 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal and about how you can help support the ministries and programs in the Diocese of Norwich, please visit www.norwichdiocesedevelopment.org and make your pledge, or call the Office of Development at 860.886.1928. For specific questions, Heather Harris, our campaign manager, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.886.1928, ext. 111.
By Mary Ellen Mahoney