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BRAINTREE -- In a time when a tough economy has made fundraising a challenge for non-profit organizations locally and across the country, the Archdiocese of Boston has exceeded its goal for the 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal.
The Annual Catholic Appeal is the archdiocese’s flagship fundraising effort which Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has described as the “lifeblood” of the archdiocese’s central ministries.
The 2009 goal was $15 million. However, the archdiocese announced in a Feb. 8 press release that the Catholic Appeal netted $15.1 million this year -- nearly a 1 percent increase. While the 2009 appeal generated the same revenue as the 2008 effort, about 600 more donors participated in this year’s campaign.
“The success of this year’s appeal in such a difficult economic climate demonstrates once again the generosity, faith and commitment of the people of this archdiocese to sustain our ministries,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “I am pleased to learn of the growth in the number of parishioners who supported this important appeal and continued our Catholic tradition of sharing for the sake of others. To all who have given of themselves so generously, thank you.”
“We’re pleasantly surprised,” added Catholic Appeal Manager Patrick Gipson. “To be honest, it was something over the last few months we weren’t sure about. We’ve continued to pray and work hard knowing the economy is in a tough spot.”
Gipson said that many charities have seen a decrease in fundraising revenues in the recent economic downturn.
Yet, the archdiocese was successful, according to Gipson, because of the generosity of Catholics, who he said recognize the importance of the local church in their lives.
Gipson also credits the pastors for the appeal’s success, noting their willingness to promote the work of archdiocesan ministries and pass their support onto the parishioners.
Scot Landry, Secretary for Institutional Advancement for the archdiocese, pointed out that 20 percent of contributors gave more than last year in part because Cardinal O’Malley acknowledged the difficult economy in all appeal messages, and informed donors that many parishioners would not be able to contribute this year.
“While we have had $15 million goals for the 2008 and 2009 Catholic Appeal campaigns, everyone involved in the effort understood that achieving $15 million this year would be much more difficult than in 2008,” Landry said. “But we hoped that parishioners who could give more would give more to this appeal to make up for those that couldn’t give as much as in years past, or even give at all.”
Gipson spoke to the increased number of Catholics who donated.
“The trust is beginning to be rebuilt in what we do, specifically here in Braintree,” Gipson said, referring to the archdiocese’s headquarters.
“Considering the economic environment we were in, maintaining the status quo or a repeat of previous years could be considered a success,” he added.
Kevin Gill, chairman of the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle committee and parishioner of St. Paul Parish in Hingham, said Cardinal O’Malley is one reason for the appeal’s success.
“I think it’s a reflection of the forward movement of the archdiocese under Cardinal Seán,” Gill said.
Gill said the goal was set at $15 million to match the 2008 goal.
“We had such good feelings about what Cardinal Seán was doing in the archdiocese we wanted to be aggressive,” Gill said.
“I think it’s extraordinary we met the goal in this recession,” Gill said.
Over the last seven years, from 2002 to 2009, the Catholic Appeal has seen a steady increase in both dollars raised and donor participation. In 2002, in the heart of the clergy abuse scandal, the appeal netted just short of $9 million.
Cardinal O’Malley will launch the 2010 Catholic Appeal, “Called to Love and Share,” the weekend of March 5-7, 2010.
Parishes that surpassed their 2009 Catholic Appeal goal:
Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston
St. Ambrose, Dorchester
St. Ann, Dorchester
St. Anne, Readville
St. Brigid, South Boston
St. Columbkille, Brighton
St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown
St. John Chrysostom, West Roxbury
St. Leonard of Port Maurice, Boston
St. Matthew, Dorchester
Our Lady of Victories, Boston
St. Patrick, Roxbury
Sacred Heart, Roslindale
St. Bridget, Abington
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, West Acton
St. Robert Bellarmine, Andover
St. Agnes, Arlington
St. Cecilia, Ashland
St. Michael, Avon
St. Brendan, Bellingham
St. Luke, Belmont
St. Margaret, Beverly Farms
St. Mary, Billerica
St. Clare, Braintree
St. Francis of Assisi, Braintree
St. Patrick, Brockton
St. Anthony, Cambridge
St. Francis of Assisi, Cambridge
St. Peter, Cambridge
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cambridge
Our Lady of Lourdes, Carver
St. Rose, Chelsea
Most Precious Blood, Dover
Holy Family, Duxbury
St. Mary, Foxboro
St. Bridget, Framingham
St. George, Saxonville
St. Joseph the Worker, Hanson
St. James, Haverhill
St. Paul, Hingham
The Resurrection of Our Lord, Hingham
St. Joseph, Holbrook
St. Mary, Holliston
St. John the Evangelist, Hopkinton
Our Lady of Hope, Ipswich
St. Joseph, Kingston
Our Lady of Good Counsel, Methuen
St. Margaret, Lowell
St. Patrick, Lowell
Holy Family, East Lynn
Our Lady of the Assumption, Lynnfield
Immaculate Conception, Malden
St. Ann’s by the Sea, Ocean Bluff
St. Bridget, Maynard
St. Edward The Confessor, Medfield
St. Lucy, Methuen
Sacred Heart, Middleboro
St. Thomas the Apostle, Millis
St. Elizabeth, Milton
St. Mary of the Hills, Milton
St. Pius X, Milton
St. Thomas Aquinas, Nahant
St. Linus, Natick
St. Patrick, Natick
St. Joseph, Needham
St. Ignatius, Chestnut Hill
Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton
Sacred Heart, Newton
St. Theresa, North Reading
St. Catherine of Siena, Norwood
St. John the Baptist, Peabody
Sacred Heart, Quincy
St. Bernadette, Randolph
St. Mary, Randolph
St. Agnes, Reading
St. Athanasius, Reading
Immaculate Conception, Revere
St. Thomas the Apostle, Salem
Star of the Sea, Salisbury
St. Mary of the Nativity, Scituate
Patronage of St. Joseph, Somerville
Immaculate Conception, Stoughton
St. William, Tewksbury
St. Rose of Lima, Topsfield
St. John the Evangelist, Townsend
Most Blessed Sacrament, Wakefield
St. Mary, East Walpole
St. Charles Borromeo, Waltham
St. Jude, Waltham
St. Mary, Waltham
St. Paul, Wellesley
St. Julia, Weston
St. Margaret Mary, Westwood
St. Albert the Great, Weymouth
St. Francis Xavier, South Weymouth
St. Dorothy, Wilmington
St. Thomas of Villanova, Wilmington
St. Eulalia, Winchester
St. Mary, Wrentham
Our Lady of Fatima, Peabody
St. Mary/St. Catherine, Charlestown
Holy Family, Concord
St. Katharine Drexel, Boston