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Archdiocese hopes to build on appeal's momentum

Education, faith formation, lay catechist preparation, assisting the needy: those ministries and more are supported by parishioners across the archdiocese through the Archbishop's Annual Appeal - which begins this month after receiving record support the last two years.

Last year's appeal brought $3.3 million in pledges, marking the second straight year the effort topped its $3 million goal. And a record 111 out of 146 parishes last year reached or exceeded.

Recognizing parishioners' help and hoping to continue meeting such needs, archdiocesan officials set a new goal this year: $3.15 million, a 5 percent increase from last year's goal, said Shannan Brommer, director of the Stewardship and Development Office.

"We have such good support we can build upon," Brommer said of the appeal that began this year with announcements at parish Masses Sept. 15-16 and will continue through next summer.

Invitations from Archbishop George J. Lucas to donate to the effort also are being mailed to households across the archdiocese, she said.

"We hope people understand that their gifts really do ensure that every person in the archdiocese is impacted by the work that they support," Brommer said.

That work includes Catholic school capital improvements and programs, tuition assistance for families who otherwise could not afford to send their children to Catholic schools, helping the needy through Catholic Charities, supporting active and retired priests and providing faith formation opportunities for youths and adults.

One key to last year's appeal was more parish leaders spreading the word about how the effort helps meet needs in the archdiocese, Brommer said.

That initiative will be expanded this year with the hiring of Kaitlyn Maloney to coordinate the effort, Brommer said.

And last year's record was reached with less than 20 percent of all households responding to the invitation to help fund the appeal, Brommer said.

"There's quite an opportunity to get the word out and encourage others to participate," she said.

The appeal - which helps the archdiocese meet its annual budget - is a separate effort from a proposed capital campaign being discussed by archdiocesan officials, Brommer said.

A capital campaign would help fund initiatives that go above and beyond what the archdiocese can do within its budget, she said.

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