Annual appeal surpasses goal

Even during a pandemic, the people of the Archdiocese of Omaha surpassed an important goal, raising $4.37 million of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

The fundraiser, which supports the day-to-day operations of the archdiocese, its parishes and other important ministries, began in September and concluded June 30.

By mid-March – when the COVID-19 pandemic started forcing the closure of churches and other places where people gather – the appeal was just reaching its goal of $4.25 million, said Bree Kotulak, an archdiocese Stewardship and Development officer who oversees the appeal.

But people continued to give.

“I think it’s tremendous,” Kotulak said of the collection, which involved more than 14,000 donors and others who prayerfully supported the drive.

In the endeavor, “we all come together as a church to support each other and thank God,” she said.

The money raised extends to parishes, including many that have seen collections drop off during the pandemic. The annual appeal provides “direct budget relief,” Kotulak said.

The appeal also funds essential ministries like Catholic Charities, and furthers the work of every archdiocesan office – including Catholic Schools, Evangelization and Catechesis, Family Life and Pastoral Planning – by providing for about 25% of archdiocesan operating costs.

Catholics can “see the donations at work first hand,” she said. The money goes “straight into what we do every day, in everything we do.”

The donations “communicate Jesus to all across our archdiocese,” Archbishop George J. Lucas said in a written statement. “The response of so many in our archdiocese helps us to recognize that everything we have is designed to deepen our faith and to bring us closer to Jesus and to one another.

“In response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, we have been reaching out in new ways and providing support to our parishes and schools. The services, programs and ministries supported by gifts to the Annual Appeal have been more necessary and important than ever.”

Contributions exceeded the amount raised last year and constituted the second largest amount received in the last four years, Kotulak said.

She offered “a huge and tremendous thank you” to donors, volunteers and leaders in each parish.

Eighty parishes in the archdiocese exceeded their financial goals for the appeal and 28 exceeded their participation goals by increasing the number of donors. Twenty-four parishes passed both goals, Kotulak said.

More than 1,200 people contributed more than $1,000. Those donors, part of the Archbishop’s Circle, raised about $2.32 million.

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