The Easter season is racing by, you will be reading this on the Fifth Sunday of Easter and next weekend is not only the Sixth Sunday of Easter but it is also the weekend of the ‘in-pew’ for the Annual Catholic Appeal.
The Diocese is in the process of having every parish do Pastoral Planning. As part of the process we have received a report from the Diocese about how we are doing in both the number of people attending Mass and the number of Sacraments received. We also received a financial report. One of the main parts of that report was a five year summary of how we have done on the Annual catholic Appeal. The good news is that we always make our goal and, in fact, are usually one of the first parishes to do so. Also our pledge redemption rate is usually around 98%, though last year it dropped to 96%. One concern is that in 2010 our number of donors was 285, last year it was 260 parish families. In 2010 we had a 25% participation rate and last year it was down to 20.8%. None the less, last year we took in $95,000 when in 2010 the total was $80,900. My conclusion is that we are doing more with fewer people. The diocese would like us not only to make goal, but to have a higher participation rate. One goal of pastoral planning is to have an increased participation rate in every aspect of parish life. Which brings me to the ‘in-pew’ weekend.
Next week the parish as a whole will get to make a pledge to this year’s Campaign. What I am looking for is not only to make goal, but also to increase our participation rate. There is something in the Annual Appeal for every member of the parish to support. I give to the Appeal because it supports the remarkable work of Catholic Charities in the Diocese. You may give because it supports vocations. We have an obligation to the diocese because it does what no one parish could do.
So, please consider making a pledge next weekend. Any size gift will be appreciated. The past few years I have been able to go to Bridgeport the Monday after the ‘in-pew’ and announce proudly that St. Jerome parish has made goal. Give next weekend and we will both make the parish proud and help with the good work done by the Diocese!