FALL RIVER — For the third consecutive year of his tenure as Bishop of Fall River, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., has presided over a record-breaking Catholic Charities Appeal. The faithful of the Fall River Diocese have responded to the challenge of “Whatsoever you do…” with commendable generosity.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 remind us to see anyone in need as an opportunity to express our faith in action. The final result of the Catholic Charities Appeal was another record amount to fund the social ministries of the diocese.
The books have closed on the 2017 Catholic Charities Appeal for the Diocese of Fall River and the results were $4,785,415.89!
The total was the highest in the 76-year history of the Appeal. This total was $155,000 more than last year’s record, which increased by $300,000. This means that Bishop da Cunha’s three years have seen an increase of more than $500,000 to the annual Appeal.
Although figures for the number of donors in each of the 82 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 of the Catholic Charities Appeal office. “Without their example and the strong message of encouragement from our bishop, we would have had far less success.”
The results of the Appeal showed some strong accomplishments across the diocese – 39 parishes had increases over their Appeal total from last year, with seven parishes exceeding 10 percent increases, and two more than 40 percent. St. Mary’s Parish in Mansfield became the first parish in the history of the diocese to raise more than $200,000. They finished at more than $204,000 – a six percent increase!
“There are several factors that distinguish our Appeal in the mind of our donors,” Campbell added. “Once again Bishop da Cunha narrated each Appeal video in three languages, bringing a personal touch that matters to many of our faithful. We also based our message around a Scriptural theme and tried to make the video more of a visual sermon. This is based on feedback we received from previous Appeals. 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. As always, 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.”
Bishop da Cunha, as he reflected on this wonderful result, commented: “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, along with the progress we have made in securing philanthropic support for our schools, 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.”