FALL RIVER– Pope Francis provided the inspiring words that frame this year’s Catholic Charities Appeal.  In December he was quoted as saying: “In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face, by loving and helping the poor we love and serve Christ”  This underscores the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who have prepared for the start of this year’s Catholic Charities Appeal.

The Parish reports have begun coming in to the Appeal office, reporting the first 15 days from this year’s Appeal. It is the beginning of a seven week period when the attention of the faithful in the 85 parishes of the Diocese will be on heeding the call to help our neighbors in need and discovering how much each parish community can do to increase both the rate of participation among parishioners and increase the amount of gifts and pledges realized.

“All of us have been energized by the Pope’s insistence on service and particular love for the poor,” said James A. Campbell, the director of Development for the Fall River Diocese. “Our strong cadre of donors throughout the Diocese personifies this spirit.  Our goal is to encourage new donors and retain loyal supporters each year. We had in excess of 31,000 donors from parishes last year.  We very much want to celebrate that level of generosity and highlight the many ways we bring Christ message of upholding the basic human dignity of everyone to our daily lives. We focus on the needs of the needy individuals and families coming to us for assistance. Their numbers and needs are increasing; therefore our resources have to increase as well. This can only happen if our regular supporters continue or increase their support as so many do each year, and if we are able to increase our donor base as well.”

The Catholic Charities website, www.frdioc-catholiccharities.org, has been specifically developed to offer as much information as possible to those who might be considering donating for the first time, to those pursuing information regarding the services offered, and those in need of services looking for direction and guidance to an agency or apostolate that may assist them. Along with the Appeal video; the Appeal brochure; Bishop Coleman’s audio-message; SHARING, the Appeal newsletter (all of which are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese), the site contains the financial summary of the 2013 Appeal’s revenues and disbursements. The site also offers the visitor the opportunity to donate by means of a one time donation, a pledge, or the use of their credit card for a donation or a pledge.

“People who are considering donating for the first time should be certain that their hard earned money is being spent wisely, and for the purpose for which they intend,” Campbell said. “The fact that 93 cents of every dollar is spent on direct service is outstanding.  The Catholic Charities Appeal is both efficient and careful with every dollar donated.  That is certainly something that first time donors want to know and must know in order to make an informed charitable decision. We are proud of the loyalty and trust our donors and the wider community of corporate and foundation supporters have in our ability to provide vital services for the poor, the homeless and those in our neighborhoods who, for one reason or another, need a helping hand.  These dollars touch every part of the Diocese, from the pastoral care for the sick to the Faith Formation programs that benefit both our youth and adults in search of solace. Our message, whether through the website, printed media or by simple conversation among the faithful is a way for us to convey that our Catholic faith compels us to serve our brothers and sisters and being a part of the Catholic Charities Appeal is a redeeming and responsible way to help.”

The 73rdAnnual Catholic Charities Appeal began on May 1st, and will continue until June 24th. Contributions to the Appeal can be sent to the Catholic Charities Appeal Office, P.O. Box 1470, Fall River, Mass. 02722; dropped off at any parish in the Diocese; or made on the Appeal website: www.frdioc-catholiccharities.org

Parishes leading in returns to the Catholic Charities Appeal for each deanery or area of the Fall River Diocese as of May 15 are as follows:

St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro                                              $ 43,030.28
St. Mary, Mansfield                                                                           42,983.00
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk                                            42,707.00
St. Mark, Attleboro Falls                                                                  24,427.00
Sacred Heart, North Attleboro                                                        16,994.00

Cape Cod & the Islands:
St. Pius Tenth, South Yarmouth                                                 $ 62,430.00
Christ the King, Mashpee                                                                47,340.00
Our Lady of the Cape, Brewster                                                     42,387.00
Holy Trinity, West Harwich                                                           36,903.00
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville                                                     35,710.00

Fall River:
Holy Name, Fall River                                                                  $ 24,560.00
St. Dominic, Swansea                                                                        17,815.00
St. Thomas More, Somerset                                                             16,150.00
St. John the Baptist, Westport                                                        13,905.00
St. Mary Cathedral, Fall River                                                        13,500.00

New Bedford:
St. Julie Billiart, North Dartmouth                                            $ 24,805.00
St. John Neumann, East Freetown                                                23,685.00
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, New Bedford                                    21,878.00
St. Anthony, Mattapoisett                                                                19,380.00
St. Mary, South Dartmouth                                                             18,422.00

St. Ann, Raynham                                                                          $ 30,220.00
St. Andrew the Apostle Taunton                                                     16,640.00
Holy Cross, South Easton                                                                 13,528.00
St. Jude the Apostle, Taunton                                                         13,028.00
St. Nicholas of Myra, North Dighton                                             12,450.00

Diocese of Fall River
Diocese of Fall River
Office of Communications