Archbishop Announces Change in Annual Appeal Policy
Published: October 27, 2005
ATLANTA—Each year, Catholics in North Georgia are asked to contribute to the primary fundraising effort of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. And each year, the funds collected through this campaign go to support the vital programs and ministries that form the compassionate and social justice work of the church, including the support of vocations, the poor, the elderly, immigrants, education and special ministries.
The goal for this year’s campaign, themed “Here I Am Lord, Send Me,” is $6 million. This Sunday, Oct. 30, is Treasure Commitment Sunday in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, when Catholics are asked to consider both their support of their parish and of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal and make a commitment to help both over the next 12 months. Catholics should consider sharing a proportionate and planned part of their treasure, with a focus on giving that is planned, done prayerfully.
Parishes May Benefit Even More From Archbishop’s Appeal
In a letter sent to pastors last week, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory asked for their “generous assistance and support of the first Archbishop’s Annual Appeal of my tenure in Atlanta.”
To add an incentive to this year’s campaign, the archbishop also announced a change in the Annual Appeal policy. The new policy returns to each parish 100 percent of all monies collected over the parish’s Appeal goal, a change from previous years when a graduated percentage of the funds collected over goal was returned to parishes.
Father Joseph Corbett, vicar general of the archdiocese and pastor of St. Brigid Church, Alpharetta, is pleased with this new policy.
“When a parish reaches the goal and goes over it, all of the extra donations no longer stay with the archdiocese—100 percent of donations received above the goal are now returned to the parish. This is a wonderful change, and I pray it will be like an extra bonus for parish budgets.”
Archbishop Gregory noted that he hopes “this change rightfully acknowledges and rewards the hard work and generosity of pastors and parishioners by returning funds to (the) parish community for local projects and ministries.”
DVD Shows Some Ministries That Benefit
The campaign this year includes a multimedia dimension with the availability of a 15-minute DVD illuminating some of the ministries that benefit from the Annual Appeal and including a personal message from Archbishop Gregory to all parishioners. The DVD and VHS materials are provided in both English and Spanish. Pastors received copies of all the resources and materials available about the campaign, which are also available on the archdiocesan Web site at www.archatl.com. An MP3 audio file can be downloaded from the Web site as well.
Archbishop Gregory said that the “media resources allow … parishioners to see firsthand how the fruits of their gifts of treasure work in the wider Archdiocese of Atlanta and its ministries.”
Father Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv., pastor of St. Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro and chairman of the archdiocesan Council of Priests, said that the Council had asked the archbishop to consider doing this DVD. In this way, all parishioners could hear for themselves the archbishop’s comments about this campaign in his first year as the archdiocese’s leader. Through the use of this DVD, Father Hartmayer also believes that people can gain a “visual understanding of all the archdiocese’s ministries.” He added that he is very hopeful that in this visual presentation parishioners will see how much the ministries and programs of the archdiocese rely on their generous and much-appreciated contributions.
All pastors are urged to share the DVD with their parishioners as part of the promotion of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, so that those in their church community can “put to use their many blessings and gifts by sharing with others in a spirit of gratitude.”
Donations Can Be Made In Various Ways
Funds for the appeal come from the donations of Catholics across the archdiocese. Every parish and mission has an individual monetary goal for the Annual Appeal. As each family donates to the appeal, their parish family moves closer to its own goal, which it is responsible for reaching. When a parish goes over its goal, the extra money goes back to the parish.
The combined efforts of all make reaching the archdiocesan goal a reality, which in turn brings to fruition the work of the church in North Georgia.
Parishioners can make a one-time donation or pledge an amount to be given over a 10-month period. A $50 gift can be given as five dollars a month or a $100 gift as $10 a month for 10 months.
All households of the archdiocese will receive envelopes and donor cards in the mail; additional envelopes and cards are available at all parishes and missions.
Stewardship Is A Response Of Gratitude
Stewardship, according to the dictionary, is “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care,” and yet so many more nuances are part of stewardship to those who are part of the Catholic faith.
“Stewardship is a conversion of the heart,” said Christine Heusinger, coordinator for the Office of Development and Stewardship for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, in a recent interview. She continued with enthusiasm, “Stewardship is the response of gratitude for all of the gifts we have been given, for everything from our health, our families and homes, for everything we have been able to accomplish. In stewardship, we respond and give—in time, talent and treasure—as a sign of our gratitude. Everyone, even youth and children, needs to be mindful that everything they have is a gift and that part of stewardship is taking good care of their gifts.”
As a pastor, Father Corbett acknowledged that the weekly offertory gifts from parishioners support the operating budget of his own parish, but he also stressed that donations to the Annual Appeal “provide for the day-to-day administration of the archdiocesan departments at the Catholic Center downtown. And you may well ask, does the downtown office help your parish? Yes—big time, for example, in the area of education for children and adults; providing counselors for adults and children in the parish; pre-Cana programs; youth and young adult services and vocations—right now the Archbishop’s Office is paying the seminary costs for about 50 men in training to be priests for our archdiocese. In other words, we as a parish depend a lot on support from the Archbishop’s Office, so I strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider participating in the Archbishop’s Appeal, in addition to supporting your own parish community.”
Heusinger noted that ministries like the Pro-Life Office are “instrumental in assisting parish programs, keeping people informed about pro-life activities.”
She added, “And programs such as the Vocations Office affect every church in the archdiocese, no matter how rural—all churches have priests.”
Deacon Bill Hampton of St. Matthew Church, Tyrone, is in charge of stewardship for his parish, among other programs. He defined stewardship as “the way we should live our lives each day—it’s not a one-time event.” His parish of 650 families is striving to become a “full-fledged stewardship parish,” one in which all families participate by donating time, talent and treasure. He believes that their parish community will one day reach that goal and “grow together in the love of the Lord by being good stewards.” One of the Annual Appeal programs that particularly benefits St. Matthew’s is the diaconate program, as Deacon Hampton is one of the two active deacons who serve at the small, friendly church, along with a retired deacon and two men in formation.
The pastor of St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell, Father Frank McNamee, shared some of his views on stewardship, “Our human life, our very existence, is a very precious gift, from a very loving and generous God. To guide us on our journey, we have our faith and we have been given the privilege of being stewards, caretakers, of some amazing individual gifts of time, talent and treasure. Those are God’s, not ours—we have been asked by God to use those gifts wisely.”
The Church’s Work Is Funded By Archbishop’s Appeal
The following is a list of archdiocesan programs that will receive a portion of their total funding from a successful 2006 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.
—The Office of Vocations, which is educating approximately 50 men studying for the priesthood and facilitating the ongoing discernment process for those interested in becoming candidates for priestly formation, is projected to receive $1,941,034.
—The Office of Family Life, which offers various Catholic programs for marriage preparation, marriage enrichment, stepfamily living, natural family planning, single parent living, and the training and continuing education of clergy and lay volunteers, is projected to receive $236,796.
—The Pro-Life Office coordinates pro-life efforts within the archdiocese, develops, trains and supports parish pro-life committees and acts as an archdiocesan resource for information on pro-life issues. This office is projected to receive $114,941.
—Under Catholic Social Services, the Pregnancy, Parenting and Adoption Services is projected to receive $262,409; Counseling Services, $449,733; Immigration Services, $103,761; Migration and Refugee Services, $39,579; and the Parish and Community Ministry Program, $151,067.
—The Office of Religious Education/Faith Formation assists parishes with age-appropriate religious education and sacramental formation, provides direct programs for some age groups, including Young Adult Ministry and Youth Ministry, and offers catechetical formation and certification, in Spanish and English, for hundreds of parish catechists. This office is projected to receive $781,253.
—The Office of Child and Youth Protection, which promotes awareness of the problem of sexual abuse, establishes training programs, develops policies and procedures around safe environments for children and vulnerable adults in the archdiocese and seeks to provide in a responsible way a charitable and healing response to those who have suffered such abuse, is projected to receive $139,139.
—The HIV/AIDS Ministry, which assists parishes in establishing their own HIV/AIDS ministry by providing support and resources, is projected to receive $69,137.
—The Office of Catholic Schools, which assists 15 archdiocesan elementary schools and three archdiocesan high schools by sponsoring a range of administrative, in-service and special support services on an ongoing basis, is projected to receive $332,724.
—Mission Development, through which the archdiocese subsidizes, on an as-needed basis, financially struggling missions and smaller parishes to help them meet the needs of their communities, is projected to receive $207,412.
—The Campus Ministry Program, through which the archdiocese subsidizes the operating costs of Catholic centers located on area college campuses, is projected to receive $324,082.
—The Hispanic Ministry Office, which seeks to implement the pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry, and serves as a resource for parishes and missions to meet the pastoral, liturgical and social justice needs of the Hispanic population in their areas, is projected to receive $358,650.
—The Office for Black Catholic Ministry, which provides works of evangelization, supporting the clergy in efforts to enhance the spiritual life of the black Catholic community and that of the larger Catholic community, is projected to receive $190,128.
— Under the Permanent Diaconate Office, the Diaconal Formation Program prepares men to be ordained as permanent deacons for parishes and missions of the archdiocese. After ordination, the office provides ongoing community support, educational opportunities, retreats and spiritual guidance for those in the permanent diaconate community. This office is projected to receive $111,484.
—The Ministry With Persons With Disabilities, which advocates for Catholics with disabilities to be fully included into the life of the church by providing individualized services and programs, is projected to receive $100,249.
—The Eucharistic Renewal, a partial contribution to the program costs of the annual Eucharistic Congress held by the archdiocese, is projected to receive $86,422.
The funds raised for the appeal will be used solely for the programs and ministries listed in the Annual Appeal brochure and on the Web site.
“No matter the size of the gift, God’s work will be done with it,” said Father McNamee, as he reflected on this annual and necessary campaign. “God’s only plan for the support of His church on earth is the free will gifts offered by us, his grateful children. Many people don’t like it when the priest talks about treasure, but the treasure element is a very necessary component of church life. The reality is that God’s work requires money.”
For additional information, contact your parish or mission or contact Christine Heusinger at (404) 885-7277. Information on the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal may also be viewed at www.archatl.com in the Development and Stewardship area.