Dear St. Michael’s Parish Members,
Warm summer greetings! In the midst of the unprecedented Coronavirus emergency, I pray that you are doing well. The past five months have been quite unusual and challenging to say the least.
The reason for my writing to all parish households is to ‘dovetail’ with a mailing that you may have already received, or will receive, from the Diocese concerning the Diocesan Appeal.
The Diocesan Appeal is what has previously been known as The Bishop’s Appeal. At the end of 2019, the director of that office retired. The new director previously worked at Siena College in their office of development. She brings with her a new, fresh perspective for the Appeal and is implementing some changes as to how this important fund raising effort is conducted.
Some of the changes to the Appeal, in addition to changing the name of it – something I have been suggesting for many years – include revamping and streamlining the process for both sending out Appeal information and, receiving donations.
Now, the lion’s share of the work that had been done at the parish level (as you recall – including sending letters similar to this one, along with a pledge envelope) is being done by her office in Albany. You may have already received a colorful initial mailing from the Diocese. If you have not yet received it, fear not, it will arrive in the coming weeks.
The new Appeal mailing takes the place of the former full color brochures that were sent out in advance of the start of the Appeal each year. Included in the new flyer is a return envelope which you now return directly to the Appeal office, and not to the parish.
The parish formerly would do most of the record keeping – processing the donation envelopes that would be received, complete donor cards and handle the funds, etc. I am glad that this is now being done by the Appeal office. It was a lot of work for the parish to handle. I hope that this new procedure proves to be very successful going forward.
Speaking of success, while the parish no longer is responsible for all the details of the processing, we still very much want each parish household to continue to support the Diocesan Appeal. In fact, the name change actually reflects more accurately what the Appeal is all about, namely, the entire Diocesan family.
Just as you are a member of St. Michael’s parish family, so too are all parishes and its members part of the larger Diocesan family. As such, all are asked to help to provide the funds that allow the Diocese to do all it does in Jesus’ name for our fourteen county wide Diocese.
The gifts given to the Diocesan Appeal provide the vital services, programs, ministries and staffing that benefit thousands of people in a wide diversity of ways.
From social services such as Catholic Charities, homeless shelters, food pantries, pastoral care, to chaplains, campus ministry, vocations support, all are supported by the Diocesan Appeal. The various diocesan offices which support the parishes and, by extension, the people of God are also supported by this appeal. Your generous support is needed this year now more than ever!
As we are all impacted, directly and indirectly, by the Coronoavirus, the need for assistance has increased significantly. Moreover, with so many people furloughed or laid off from their job, the need for food assistance, rent assistance, utility assistance, etc. has likewise increased significantly.
The Diocese is only able to do so much, like parishes, despite the unparalleled restrictions and limitations caused by the Coronavirus, to the extent that the financial support of everyone throughout the Diocese continues. The Diocesan Appeal is the primary means by which that is able to continue. That is why your gift to the Diocesan Appeal is so greatly needed.
In the new Diocesan Appeal flyer you will note that our parish, St. Michael the Archangel, should be printed as the parish you want your gift to be credited to. Also, there is a suggested gift amount. The reason for this is that by asking for a certain amount, it encourages donors to really think about their gift and if it is given in a spirit of being truly sacrificial in nature. Also, a set amount is asked as a way of encouraging the donor to consider possibly increasing their gift from the amount previously given.
In any event, whatever amount you are able to give is truly appreciated. Given the many constraints put on everyone, especially financially, I certainly do not expect that our parish will be able to realize our goal, and, I suspect that the Diocese feels the same. What I consider to be most important, as I always say, is that every household in the parish should give something.
If each household were to give something, and of course, the larger the gift, the closer we will come to reaching our goal.
The theme of this year’s Diocesan Appeal is taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, where he states so deftly, “we walk by FAITH, not by sight!” He means, of course, that even in the midst of what otherwise appears to be something terrible, bad, negative, impossible even, if we muster the kind of Faith that our Baptism calls us to, and which the Gospel urges us to do, we will not be daunted, we will not despair or lose hope.
Each gift to the Diocesan Appeal is a sure statement on the part of the giver that truly, Faith is what ultimately guides us. I believe this with all my heart! With the generous support of all in our parish, your gift makes it possible to provide the vital financial resources that allow the Diocese to carry on the mission of Jesus today. This is a chance for every one of us, to ensure that Jesus’ ministry is fulfilled.
We are asked, just once per year, to help continue the work of Jesus which the Diocese strives to continue faithfully. An additional change to the Diocesan Appeal is that it now concludes with the end of each fiscal year. Previously, it ended in the fall of the current year. Now, it is ongoing until June 30 of each year, which is when most entities fiscal year concludes.
I ask each household in our parish to make a sacrificial gift, to the extent your means permit, by making an outright gift or making a pledge paid over several months. We all benefit from the work of the Diocesan Appeal. That is why we are all asked to ‘chip in’.
As a convenience, you may make your gift online! No check to write, no envelope to mail! Just visit www.thediocesanappeal.org to make an online gift or pledge. Those who pledge will receive reminders from the Diocese throughout the year.
Thank you for your generous support to this year’s Diocesan Appeal. Please do not hesitate to call the parish office at 518-792-5859 if you have any questions about this. May God Bless you!
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Tony Childs