Appeal reaches halfway point in first month

byChristine Williams

BRIGHTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston has passed the halfway point in reaching its 2007 appeal goal since its launch May 1. In the first month, the annual Catholic Appeal has garnered just over $7 million of its $14 million goal from 27,000 contributors, according to Scot Landry, the archdioceses secretary for advancement and chief development officer.

Were thrilled with the good, early returns and were hopeful that June will have similar results, he said.

The theme of this years appeal is Giving in Faith, Giving with Love. Almost one-third of the money raised by the annual appeal goes toward specialized services to parishes. Additionally, 25.2 percent of the funds supports education, formation and evangelization and 17.5 percent supports general and operational services.

The archdiocese hopes to come close to reaching this years goal by the end of this month, Landry added.

The early success to this years appeal is due to a positive response to this years appeal video, which was shown in many parishes, as well as parish appeal materials that made it easier for parishioners to participate. Pastors, who have done an excellent job of explaining the importance of the appeal in their parishes, have also contributed to participation in the appeal, Landry said.

Three parishes have already exceeded their goals, and several more will likely surpass their goals in early June, he said.

One of the parishes that exceeded its goal in the first month is St. John the Baptist Parish in Haverhill. Pastor Father Keith P. LeBlanc said that each year he relates to parishioners the good works funded by the annual appeal.

I explain that one of the benefits the diocese can provide by them contributing was myself because Im a Pope John graduate, he said.

The appeal allows the archdiocese to educate future priests as well, both at St. Johns Seminary in Brighton and Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston. Additionally, the archdiocese provides counseling services to those in need and many other services, he said.

This is their offertory, he said. It helps us to understand that were all united as parishes with the diocese.

Many of the 650 families at St. Johns have given very generously. Their contribution helps the archdiocese year-round and makes a real difference, he added.

Theyre very giving people, Father LeBlanc said. Im very grateful.

Landry said, Its really encouraging for me to see the parishes that brought the appeal case to their parishioners in a strong way --by showing Cardinal Sens video message, using the in-church information we provided and then strongly requesting early participation.

The archdiocese hopes that most parishes will reach their individual financial goals by the end of June, resulting in shorter parish campaigns than in previous years, he said.

Our pastors asked us to put forward a strategy this year that would help them close the parish campaigns by June 30, he said.

Parishes that exceed their goal receive 25 percent of the surplus, he added.

In addition, Landry noted that over 200 priests made personal contributions in the first month of the appeal, and half of them gave $500 or more, Landry said.

Many gave very sacrificially, he said. Priests themselves are trying to lead by example because they know the good the appeal does. Theyve really stepped forward.

Landry described their giving as inspirational and called it a sign of their ongoing sacrifice.

Information on the annual appeal and how to contribute as well as the appeal video are available at www.bostoncatholicappeal.org.