FALL RIVER — The Fall River Diocese will begin the 77th annual Catholic Charities Appeal in May with a theme of “Sharing Faith and Hope,” chosen to underscore the mission of the services and programs made possible by the springtime campaign.

Proceeds from the Catholic Charities Appeal fund the charitable services and ministries that are offered by Fall River Diocese throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands. The Appeal will take place from May 1 through June 27.

“Sharing Faith and Hope,” the theme selected for this year, “well reflects the work of the many programs, ministries and services sponsored by the Fall River Diocese to provide spiritual and material help,” writes Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., in his letter on the Appeal.

The bishop points out that Scripture offers numerous accounts of Jesus’ special concern for the sick, the needy, the discouraged, and the disenfranchised.

“Each year at this time, I ask for your support of the Catholic Charities Appeal to enable our Diocesan Church to follow His example, to share faith and hope in our time, in our communities…,” Bishop da Cunha says.

Support of the Appeal enables faith to be shared in diocesan pastoral care to the sick in all area hospitals, through campus ministry, youth and young adult ministry, prison chaplaincy, faith formation and other pastoral endeavors.

Support of the Appeal enables hope to be shared through the numerous programs of Catholic Social Services including basic needs assistance, food pantries, emergency shelters, transitional housing, adoption services, counseling and more, along with diocesan outreach to immigrants, to those with disabilities, and to those trying to rebuild their lives after incarceration.

“The concept of sharing is central to the focus of the Appeal, as it is central to our faith as Catholics who are aware of the obligation not only to recognize the needs of the vulnerable among us but also to offer them assistance and hope,” said Catholic Charities Appeal Director Mike Donly.

Strengthening the ministries and services offered by the Diocese is among the principal goals of the strategic planning process launched by Bishop da Cunha earlier this year.  The Appeal theme echoes the intent of this planning process to rebuild in faith and hope.

The Catholic Charities Appeal is the one and only time during the year when the Fall River Diocese asks for financial help to fund its charitable agencies and programs, which are open to anyone regardless of creed, race, nationality, gender or economic status. It maintains a low administrative expense ratio: 94 cents of every dollar contributed is directed to the services and programs funded by the Appeal, according to Donly.

In 2017, the Appeal raised $4.78 million.

Expressing his “deep gratitude” for the past support of parishioners, area businesses and community friends, Bishop da Cunha said that he now comes to all again “to ask for your contribution to assist us in ‘Sharing Faith and Hope’” through the Catholic Charities Appeal.

Additional information is available on the Appeal website, www.frdioc-catholiccharities.org, including video testimonies from those who have been helped by Appeal-funded services and a statement of revenue and expenditures from the 2017 Appeal.

Contributions to the Catholic Charities Appeal may be made either through a one-time donation or through a pledge payable over ten months. Donations may be dropped off at any parish in the diocese, made through its website, or mailed to the Catholic Charities Appeal Office, P.O. Box 1470, Fall River, MA 02722.

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