Bishop’s Annual Appeal funds ministries and needed areas

Our Lady of the Valley outreach center in Gloverville was in a dire situation. A leaky roof coupled with ancient, broken windows presented the center with the very real danger of having to close the building, said Harold Bertrand, a volunteer that helps with maintenance.

As a ministry that serves the needy, Bertrand said they simply don’t have the funds for costly repairs.

Thank God funding was available to them through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, he said, which approved $20,000 to help the outreach pay for a new roof and windows. More importantly, it allowed them to continue their ministry to those in need.

The emergency maintenance fund is just one of many items financed through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, which will kick off Feb. 2-3, followed by Pledge Sunday on Feb. 16-17.

It is a major source of funding for 116 parishes and missions, and supports a multitude of programs, including Catholic Charities, vocations, education, youth, and campus ministry.

Sandra Leatherwood, director for elementary education, said the BAA helped 326 students in 23 schools last year through the tuition assistance fund.

“This is over and above what the schools and parishes are able to provide,” she said.

The appeal also provides a monthly stipend to retired priests and aids diocesan seminarians studying for the priesthood, said Matt Dwyer, director of stewardship and development.

He said they surpassed last year’s goal of $2.75 million and raised $3.17 million, with $248,000 in bequests. The goal for 2013 is $3 million, Dwyer said, adding that they plan to hold it at that level for a time.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the amount of the appeal reflects the needs of the diocese. He said he has never been surprised by the generosity of people in the state and continues to be grateful for their contributions toward diocesan outreach, which covers a broad spectrum of programs.

“As Catholic Christians we are called to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need,” he said. “We’re living in very tenuous times.”

Dwyer said the 2013 campaign will include an increase of $250,000 across four areas of need: Catholic Charities, to help support the new maternity home being planned for the upstate; ministry and outreach, to cover the cost of a new chapel at the upcoming diocesan office building; vocations, to help pay for the education and formation of seminarians; youth ministry and schools, to help support the diocesan high schools of Cardinal Newman, Bishop England and the upcoming John Paul II.

The Bishop’s Annual Appeal was formerly known as the Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal.

Matt Dwyer said the title was changed to more accurately reflect the nature of the appeal as a fundraising campaign, and not to confuse it with the call to discipleship in its various forms. He said the appeal is financial giving, whereas stewardship is giving of oneself.

Personalized packets will be mailed to all registered households in early February. The pledge weekend for the appeal will take place on Feb. 16-17.
To learn more about the BAA or to donate, visit