Cecile Pagliarulo 2017-08-09 00:22:27
CLIFTON The generosity of the faithful in the Paterson Diocese made the 2016 Bishop’s Annual Appeal a record breaker. The $4.4 million in pledges was the largest amount raised in Appeal history. These pledges will help fund diocesan Catholic Charities agencies, the education of seminarians, the educational needs of inner-city children attending Catholic schools in the Diocese and Nazareth Village in Chester, the diocesan priests’ retirement residence. The record amount pledged topped the 2015 Appeal amount by more than $280,000. The 2016 Appeal had 20,000 parishioners make pledges. “Year after year, it is gratifying to see the outpouring of generosity and goodness coming from the faithful in our Diocese who participate in the work of our Annual Appeal,” Bishop Serratelli said. “We simply could not do all that we are called to do without this incredible support. Each of us receives requests for help from numerous charitable organizations. To know that so many parishioners see the value of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal in changing lives is a great affirmation of the work of our Diocese.” “The good work done through the Appeal would not be possible without the support of our pastors,” Bishop Serratelli said. “I want to publicly thank our pastors and priests who help promote the Appeal and encourage their people to participate. Their leadership makes all the difference. I am so grateful that I can count on them to help spread the word,” the Bishop said. Under the theme, “Be Rich in Good Works” (1 Tm 6:18), the 2016 Bishop’s Annual Appeal was launched last September at all parishes in the Diocese with the goals of supporting the sick, the poor and the disabled, assisting retired priests and investing in the Diocese’s future through seminarian education and the education of inner-city children served by Catholic schools in the Diocese. Tim Potter, diocesan director of development, said, “The real story is not the record-breaking numbers but rather in what those dollars represent. In my position at the Diocese, I have the opportunity to see firsthand how these Appeal gifts change lives. Especially when I visit one of our many Catholic Charities programs I come away with an immense feeling of pride to be a Catholic in the Paterson Diocese. So many acts of genuine kindness and compassion are on display on a daily basis that most of us may never see, but they are no less impactful. Every person who gives to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal can take ownership in the great work being done and share in the transformational results.” Msgr. James Mahoney, vicar general, moderator of the Curia and pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Chatham Township, said, “The Bishop’s Annual Appeal does so much good. As a pastor, I am forever grateful for the generosity I see firsthand from my parishioners when we have local ministries and programs to support. When all parishioners throughout the Diocese join together to support the work of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, the generosity is made powerful. Thousands of people are given the critical assistance they need in difficult times. Every single gift is a blessing. The 20,000 parishioners who responded to the 2016 Appeal had a profound and lasting impact on so many lives.” The success of the Appeal relies on the commitment and hard work of many people, especially pastors and priests and the Lay Appeal chairpersons who inspire their fellow parishioners to donate. Both the Bishop and the development office acknowledge the contributions made by the pastors and lay volunteers who assist in the Appeal process. “I thank our pastors and our parish Lay Appeal chairpersons for spearheading the Appeal effort in their parishes. Our pastors as so busy, but they understand the important work of the Appeal and make it a priority in their parish. Our Lay Appeal chairpersons volunteer their time to help share the good news of the Appeal with their fellow parishioners. Along with the pastors, they are key to making the Appeal a great success and a blessing to those we serve,” said Potter. Diocesan Catholic Charities is the largest recipient of Appeal contributions. These social service agencies assist people in all three counties of the Diocese in 43 locations ministering to seniors, children, families, the disabled, the sick, veterans and the addicted. Programs include emergency services in providing food and shelter, adult day care, group homes for adults with disabilities, after school and summer programs, clothing distribution, food pantries, substance abuse counseling and home repairs for seniors. The Appeal also helps in the education of diocesan seminarians and inner-city students at diocesan Catholic schools. Within the last 11 years more than 90 men have been ordained priests of the Diocese. Inner-city students who attend Catholic school receive a faith-filled education in a safe, loving environment. Another recipient of the BAA pledges is Nazareth Village, the retired diocesan priests’ residence located in Chester. The Appeal helps those priests who have given a lifetime of service to the Church of Paterson by offering them an option to live in community with their brother priests. Thirty-three priests have called Nazareth Village their home throughout the years and many retired priests continue to assist at weekend Masses in nearby parishes. In addition to Appeal funds being used for these diocesan ministries, parishes that receive more in pledges than their appeal goal will receive a rebate to be used for parish needs. Fifty percent of all pledges received over a parish goal are returned to the parish. See table below for information on individual parish rebates. At Assumption Parish in Morristown, the Annual Appeal was a great success. Msgr. John Hart, pastor, said, “Assumption parishioners have always been very generous, very caring and very enthusiastic about the work of the Church. They are especially open to helping the poor and the needy. They believe in everything the Bishop’s Annual Appeal accomplishes and they are very responsive.” Msgr. Hart is grateful to Bob Rohr, the Appeal chairperson at Assumption, and added, “We followed the instructions presented by the diocesan Development Office and we had a positive attitude about the Appeal. If you explain what the need is, the people will be very responsive. Also every gift no matter how small or large is important.” The inner-city parish of St. Anthony’s in Passaic also had a positive response to the Appeal. Father Edgar Rivera, who had served as pastor there during the Appeal and now serves as diocesan vocations director, said, “I personally called our parishioners and explained to them about the Appeal. They were happy to be involved and willing to help. I wanted to make it a point as pastor to personally invite them to participate. As a parish, it was important for us to think about what we can do for the Diocese. Even with our own expenses and needs in our own church, people still wanted to help.” In Sussex County, St. Jude Parish in Hamburg also had great participation from its community. Father Michael Rodak, pastor, said, “When people know the need, and reason, they are always willing to give. I believe that the generosity of the parishioners of St. Jude’s demonstrates their understanding of the many needs in the Diocese, and the many good causes that are assisted through the Appeal. They also recognize the needs of the parish, and that the parish benefits after the goal is reached resulting in a winwin for everyone.” For a complete list of parish pledges to the Appeal, see the table on page 9 provided by the diocesan Development Office, which coordinates the Appeal.
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