Diocese commemorates two milestone anniversaries while appealing to the faithful for support

FALL RIVER—The 83rd Annual Catholic Appeal of the Diocese of Fall River officially kicks off on Wednesday, May 1 and runs through June 30. This year’s Appeal theme, “Renew the Face of the Earth” reminds us that when the Holy Spirit acts through us, we can change the world.

Since it first launched in 1942, annual gifts and pledges to the Catholic Appeal have offered physical, emotional, and spiritual assistance to tens of thousands in their moments of need, weakness, and uncertainty. Donor support of the Appeal upholds all the agencies, programs, and ministries of the diocese, which spans from Mansfield, Easton and the Attleboro’s, through the Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford areas, and extends all the way to Cape Cod and the Islands. Gifts to the Appeal help combat homelessness on our city streets, eliminate loneliness and fear in hospital rooms, shine the light of Christ in our schools and churches, and strengthen families seated around dinner tables: making a vast and visible impact in myriad ways.

In a message to the faithful of the Diocese of Fall River, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. stated,

“The theme of our 83rd Annual Catholic Appeal, “Renew the Face of the Earth,” reminds us that our acts of charity and love renew those around us. With each outstretched helping hand, we create a small ripple effect of care. This kindness spreads and allows us to play a part in renewing the face of the entire earth – starting here in our Diocese of Fall River. 

“Through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, God is constantly reaffirming us. In the Book of Genesis, Noah uses a dove to deliver signs of receding floodwaters back to the arc: the promise of a new beginning after a period of trial and adversity. Even then, hope came on the wings of a dove.

“How can we be modern-day messengers of renewal? As a united, active Church focused on the Gospel, the teachings, and the presence of Jesus. Together the faithful of the Diocese of Fall River will renew the face of the earth, renew our faith community, renew a spirit of hope and joy, and renew our Church.”

This year, the diocese commemorates two important anniversaries. One of the major beneficiaries of gifts to the Catholic Appeal, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fall River (formerly Catholic Social Services) is marking 100 years of carrying out its promise to provide “Service Anchored in Faith.” Founded in 1924, Catholic Charities serves approximately 40,000 individuals in the diocese each year. As the human services arm of the Diocese of Fall River, the organization helps with basic and emergency needs, homelessness, food insecurity, immigration issues, housing services, disabilities, mental health ministry, foreclosure help, citizenship services, and much more.  

“We are the faith in action. When you think of the corporal works of mercy – feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, welcome the stranger – that is what Catholic Charities does. That is what we embody,” said Susan Mazzarella, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fall River.

This year also marks the 120th anniversary of the Diocese of Fall River. “I can think of no better way to celebrate this historic milestone than by joining together in support of the Catholic Appeal,” said Bishop da Cunha, who implored the faithful of the diocese, “Please consider making a contribution of any size to help us carry out our mission. When what we believe in our hearts extends to what we do in our everyday lives, we can – and will – make a positive impact on the lives of those in need throughout our diocese.”

The 2023 Catholic Appeal raised $4.5 million through the generosity of more than 15,000 individual donors. This year’s Catholic Appeal goal is $5 million to ensure the diocese can continue its mission of bringing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to life.

Continuing as an added incentive this year, half of every dollar raised over a parish’s fundraising goal will be returned to the parish for its use. Last year, 23 parishes – one-third of the parishes across the Diocese of Fall River – qualified for and received an incentive reward.

Additional information on this year’s Catholic Appeal is available on its website: www.catholicfoundationsema.org/catholic-appeal-2024. The website includes a video message featuring Bishop da Cunha, a series of short “Ministry Moment” videos focusing on specific areas supported by gifts to the Appeal, and a summary of how the funds raised through the 2023 Catholic Appeal were distributed across the various ministries and programs it supports.

Contributions to the Appeal may be made either through a one-time donation or through monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual pledges. There are many ways to make your gift or pledge:

  • Mail to the Catholic Appeal – Diocese of Fall River, P.O. Box 237, Kensington, CT 06037-0237
  • Mail or drop off to the Catholic Appeal office: 450 Highland Ave., Fall River, MA 02720
  • Give or pledge online at www.GiveFRDiocese.org
  • Drop off your contribution at any parish in the diocese
  • Call the Catholic Appeal office at 508-675-1311 to make your gift, setup a pledge, or to ask any questions.
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