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Catholic Appeal going strong

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BRAINTREE -- The Catholic Appeal for the Archdiocese of Boston is rapidly approaching their 2012 fiscal year goal of $14 million. The 2012 Appeal launched March 1st and has raised $10.4 million, compared to $10.1 million raised during the same time period for the 2011 Appeal.

The appeal has brought in $13.9 million in cash pledges as of June 27, and the office expects to reach $14 million by close of fiscal year 2012.

"We have seen a strong start from parishes this year," said Catholic Appeal manager Jacqui Miller.

At a local level, 31 Parishes have exceeded their goals, 42 are between 90 and 100 percent of achieving their goals,?major gifts to the appeal have grown eight percent from last year, online donations have doubled from last year, and 37,395 people have donated so far.

The appeal team courted success through initiatives tuned to making potential donors in the archdiocese aware of ministries that benefit from funds coming in through the appeal.

"We have done some new integrated approaches to how we are communicating the appeal. We made a strong effort this year in our materials to really try and communicate the appeal from the standpoint of the donor well-served," Miller said.

Recently, the archdiocese created a video dedicated to chaplains in the United States armed services who serve on behalf of the Archdiocese of Boston. Staff of the appeal circulated the video to 9,300 previous donors through email. The video went out to 288 pastors and 135 school principals, over Catholic TV, on the archdiocesan Facebook page, and was featured on Boston.com.

Appeal staff tracked attempts to donate after viewing the video. Within 48 hours of sending out the video there were 50 visits to the appeal website, 9 donations totaling $4,500 for an average gift of $500, and it received more than 1,600 YouTube views and 75 Facebook "likes."

"We got it out to as many media sources as possible," she said.

The office also sent out an email to previous donors detailing the ministries of religious education in the archdiocese, and received 26 donations totaling $8,146 that could be tracked directly by the office as resulting from the email.

Miller said these initiatives contributed on a smaller scale to the larger goal.

"Even though the dollars weren't huge, what we were able to do is communicate out now to many more people through these vehicles what the appeal actually does," she said.

The Pastor Advisory Committee that advises the team, advocates for the appeal amongst pastors, and provides the team feedback recently added three members.

Father Kenneth Cannon of St. Mary of the Nativity in Scituate, Father Richard Messina of St. Mary in Winchester, and Father Lou Palmieri of Holy Family in Amesbury and Star of the Sea in Salisbury joined Father Paul Clifford of St. John the Evangelist in Hopkinton, Father Rodney Copp of St. Charles Borromeo in Waltham, Msgr. William Helmick of St. Theresa of Avila in West Roxbury, Msgr. Francis Strahan of St. Bridget in Framingham, Father George Szal of Immaculate Conception in Revere, and Father Walter Waldron of St. Patrick in Roxbury on the team.

Of 145 parishes participating in the Improved Financial Relations Model 73 received an early rebate in July of $248,065 to total $744,941 by the end of the appeal.

Vice president of development for the archdiocese Mary Doorley stated the overall importance of the appeal for Catholics in the archdiocese.

"This is not our appeal, this is their appeal. This is the appeal of pastors, parishioners, parish appeal coordinators, everyone to support the mission of the Church that carries out the Gospel in the Archdiocese of Boston," Doorley said.

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