FALL RIVER–The 78th Annual Catholic Charities Appeal is underway in the Diocese of Fall River. Each year, the Appeal invites parishioners in the Diocese and community supporters to bear witness to the good works that together all make possible through their generous support. This year’s theme, “See All the People,” taken from a well-known nursery rhyme, is symbolic of the countless people who have benefitted from the agencies and apostolates of our Diocese committed to serving anyone in need, regardless of race, creed, nationality, gender, or economic status.
Since its inception in 1942, proceeds from the Appeal have provided the funding for the charitable services and programs sponsored by the Fall River Diocese. The Appeal’s reach is vast: donor support transforms the lives of tens of thousands annually, from Mansfield, Easton and the Attleboro’s, through the Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford areas, and extending all the way to Cape Cod and the Islands. This year’s Appeal runs from May 1 through June 30.
“Sacred Scripture reveals for us numerous accounts of Jesus’ special concern for the sick, the needy, the discouraged, and the disenfranchised,” said Fall River Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. In a letter in support of this year’s Appeal, Bishop da Cunha also writes, “When we work together to provide for those most in need in our Diocese, our Diocese grows stronger.”
Through the Catholic Charities Appeal, the Fall River Diocese is able to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people in all phases of life – from children, to youth, to parents, to the elderly. The foremost agency funded by the Appeal is Catholic Social Services (CSS), which, since 1924, has been committed to improving the quality of life for those in need. The far-reaching efforts of CSS include basic needs assistance, food pantries, emergency shelters, transitional and supportive housing, adoption services, ESL and GED programs, care for those with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities, and much more.
Other services and ministries financed by the Catholic Charities Appeal include ‘round-the-clock hospital chaplaincy, campus ministry, marriage preparation, retreats and programs for youth such as the Christian Leadership Institute and Pro-Life Boot Camp, support for our retired priests and seminarians, and the weekly Television Mass.
Mim Sherman, CEO of The Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, explained that this year’s Appeal theme exhorts us to remember the Church is an institution that draws strength from people. “When we ‘See All the People’ who are actively engaged in the process of building a community dedicated to worship, fellowship, discipleship, mission, and sharing the good news of the gospel, we become inspired to help our neighbors in need,” she said. “This year’s Appeal theme demonstrates how the Church lives everywhere: in our parishes, as well as in classrooms and playgrounds; at our hospitals; in faith formation experiences; in the depth of experience and wisdom of our elder priests, and in the tangible energy of our young seminarians.”
The Catholic Charities Appeal has historically maintained a low administrative expense ratio: 94 cents of every dollar contributed is directed to the services and programs funded by the Appeal. The 2018 Catholic Charities Appeal raised $4.6 million, the third highest total in its history.
Additional information on this year’s Catholic Charities Appeal is available on its website: www.catholicfoundationsema.org/catholic-charities-2019/, including a video message from Bishop da Cunha and an overview of the many areas supported by the Appeal. All are encouraged to please check back in the days ahead as new content will be added, including a series of video testimonials and inspiring stories about those who have been helped by Appeal-funded services, and a summary of how philanthropic dollars raised through the Appeal have been distributed across the various ministries it supports.
Contributions to the Catholic Charities Appeal may be made either through a one-time donation or through monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual pledges. Donations may be mailed to the Catholic Charities Appeal office, 450 Highland Ave., Fall River, MA 02720, made online at www.givefrdiocese.org/cca19, or dropped off at any parish in the Diocese. Please contact the Catholic Charities Appeal office at 508-675-1311 with any questions.