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2012 Catholic Appeal launches this weekend

Pilot photo courtesy/2012 Catholic Appeal

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BOSTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston will launch the 2012 Annual Appeal at churches throughout the archdiocese March 3 and 4.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley will launch the appeal in person at an afternoon Mass Saturday at Holy Family Parish in Amesbury, and a morning Mass Sunday at Sacred Heart Parish in Middleborough.

Vicar General Msgr. Robert Deeley will also launch the appeal at Saturday and Sunday Masses at St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester, St. Brigid Parish in Lexington, and Sacred Heart Parish in Cambridge.

Those attending Mass elsewhere in the archdiocese will have a pre-recorded homily from Cardinal O'Malley launching the "The Good Samaritan is you" themed appeal.

The vicar general said the cardinal's homily will be presented in all churches in the archdiocese.

"The primary notion of the appeal is that it is the financial foundation of the possibility of any ministry in the archdiocese," Msgr. Deeley said.

More than half of the income of the archdiocese comes from the appeal each year. The remainder is funded by other philanthropic sources as well as by fees for various services, programs and resources provided by the archdiocese's central ministries.

Kathleen Driscoll, the archdiocese's Secretary for Institutional Advancement, explained that all the ministries of the archdiocese fall into one of four categories: enriching parish life, strengthening families, investing in the future of the faith, and advancing Church leadership. It funds more than 50 ministries of the archdiocese, including youth ministry, evangelization outreach, vocations, the pro-life office, campus ministry, Catholic schools, parish support and the cardinal's office.

The programs and services offered through the central ministries serve 288 parishes in 144 cities and towns, 122 Catholic elementary and secondary schools, and thousands of individual Catholics in the archdiocese.

The appeal funds come to the Church solely through philanthropic donation.

Parishes receive a rebate from the archdiocese for surpassing financial goals, with most parishes receiving 25 percent of the amount of paid pledges over the goal assigned to them, and parishes participating in the Improved Financial Relationship Model receiving up to 60 percent of the paid pledges over their appeal goal.

The Catholic Appeal has also made the donation process easier with a new look and feel to their website www.bostoncatholicappeal.org.

Jacqueline Miller, the Catholic Appeal manager, said the website is designed to be more interactive and appealing as well as make the process of donating easier.

Additionally, the site develops the theme of the Good Samaritan with stories and videos emphasizing personalized examples of how donations can help the archdiocese, parishes, and individuals in need of the services of the ministries.

A direct mailing of appeal materials was sent in late February to those Catholics who have previously donated. Additional materials will be available in churches beginning this weekend.

After the initial launch weekend, the archdiocese will collect most gifts and pledges within the first six weeks.

The final reminder letters for the appeal go to parishioners who have not yet donated, in May.

The archdiocese has not announced a goal for the 2012 appeal campaign. However, according to appeal materials the 2011 campaign raised approximately $14 million.

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