FALL RIVER– Once again the faithful of the Fall River Diocese have responded with extraordinary generosity to the Annual Catholic Charities Appeal. With the Vatican Year of Mercy as the backdrop for this year’s Appeal, the final result was another record-setting amount to fund the charitable works of the diocese.
The 2016 Catholic Charities Appeal raised $4,630,223.72.
The total is the highest in the 75-year history of the Appeal. It is a gain of more than $97,000 over last year’s record total, which had an increase of $300,000. In all, it means an increase of more than $400,000 to the Catholic Charities Appeal in Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha’s first two years.
Proceeds from the Appeal, which ran from May 1 to June 30, provide the financial support for the many ministries and programs sponsored by the Diocese in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.
Although figures for the number of donors in each of the 82 diocesan parishes are not yet complete, it appears that more than 32,000 individuals and businesses were moved to support the diocese. The Appeal proved compelling enough to inspire sacrificial giving once again.
“We are enormously grateful for the hard work and week by week advocacy that our pastors and parish leaders put into this annual Appeal,” said Jim Campbell, diocesan director of the Catholic Charities Appeal Office. “Without their example and the strong message of encouragement from our Bishop, we would have far less success.”
Appeal results show some amazing accomplishments across the diocese. Forty-four parishes had an increase over their 2015 Appeal total, with seven parishes exceeding 20 percent increases, and two with more than 40 percent.
Campbell believes that several factors distinguish the Appeal in the mind of donors.
“This year Bishop da Cunha narrated each video in three languages, bringing a personal touch that matters to many of our faithful,” he said. “We also used social media and the internet more than ever before to spread our message. There is genuine respect for the work being done on behalf of the poor by the Diocese of Fall River in meeting the needs of those it ministers to. The agencies and apostolates are well received and highly regarded in their communities. Also, our pastors are the most important link in connecting Catholic Social Teaching with the imperative to help. Lastly, we are very proud of the sound stewardship which has always been a benchmark of the Appeal”
As he reflected on this wonderful Appeal result, Bishop da Cunha commented that “I am so proud of our priests and the lay leaders in every parish who worked so diligently on behalf of the poor. These results, despite the recent initiation of parish assessments, indicate the well of generosity is deep and plentiful among our people. The response of a great number of people, parishes, and businesses in the Diocese of Fall River to our annual Appeal demonstrates an abiding love of neighbor expressed in prayer and action.”