FALL RIVER—The month of June marks the final chance to support the 82nd Annual Catholic Appeal, which ends on Friday, June 30. To-date, the annual campaign has raised $2.3 million of its $4.6 million goal. Now is the time to make a gift in support of the many agencies assisting tens of thousands in need throughout the Diocese of Fall River each year.
As those who support, or benefit from, the many programs and services of the Diocese of Fall River will attest, this work of charity is more than a ministry. It is a way of life that begins in the heart and is fueled by the Holy Spirit. Gifts and pledges to the Catholic Appeal honor our commitment to ensure all brothers and sisters, no matter their age, background, or circumstances, have the chance to live their best life possible: the life Christ intended for them.
There are several programs that benefit from the Catholic Appeal.
St. Clare’s Residential Program, offered by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fall River, provides a structured six-month drug-free and alcohol-free program for women who have been released from prison and are seeking a place to begin life anew, rooted in a strong, faith-based foundation. While living at St. Clare’s, the women participate in regular meetings, benefit from mentorship, attend weekly Mass, contribute to the household chores, and learn computer skills that will transfer into future employment.
“I want to thank the Catholic Appeal donors so much. Your generosity and your kind hearts have helped me figure out what I need to focus on to be a good, productive member of my community. And it gives me the opportunity to get back to being a mother again — that’s what I want more than anything,” commented Amy, a resident of St. Clare’s.
— Amy, a resident of St.
Gifts to the Catholic Appeal provide consultation, support, and resources for the youth of the Fall River Diocese through confirmation, retreat experiences and events, the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), and middle and high school formation. The Office of the Secretariat for the New Evangelization presents the annual Catholic Youth Day to help bring the young people of our diocese closer to holiness, grow in friendship, and celebrate the beauty of their Catholic faith.
“What made (Catholic Youth Day) even more memorable for me were the amazing teens and youth ministry volunteers from all across the diocese. Fall River is blessed to be comprised of many cultures and ethnicities and it was fun to sit in on small groups and lunch conversations to talk about what unites us as a family of faith,” said Chika Anyanwu, a Special Guest Speaker at one of the youth events.
Couples who are preparing for marriage can utilize the Diocesan Marriage Preparation Program offered by the Office of Family and Respect Life. Registered couples receive access to the program and are assigned a mentor couple who guide them, answer questions, and offer up their own experiences of married life. There is also a ReMarriage program designed for couples in which one or both individuals have previously been married and annulled. The goal for all couples is to prepare and assist for the Sacrament of Marriage and, after that, life as a married couple.
Deb and Doug Sousa, marriage preparation leaders from Somerset, commented, “We have served on the marriage preparation team for the diocese for the past 10 years. In the past, we could count on couples having support outside of their parish, in their homes and in their wider families. But the reality is, a lot of couples don’t naturally have that. So we really need to form couples in appreciating a biblical and Christian view of marriage. We can’t take for granted that they would otherwise get that.”
The Office of Pastoral Ministry to the Sick ministers to the sick and dying of all faiths and spiritual walks in all of the hospitals in the diocese. It offers a network of full and part-time chaplains who provide much-needed support in the form of visits, prayer, distribution of Communion, and administration of the Sacrament of the Sick to thousands of individuals.
“At my ordination Mass in 2019, the Gospel commanded us to ‘love one ‘” said Deacon Paul Spearin, Chaplain at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River. ”The homily touched on Mother Teresa: how she ministered to the thousands in Calcutta, not because they were Catholic, but because she was Catholic. I have found my ‘Calcutta’ here at Charlton, carrying the light into the darkness of anxiety, uncertainty and fear. Chaplains walk with these people who find themselves experiencing life’s unplanned and sometimes heart-rending events. A chaplain’s presence in those times reassures those to whom we minister that our Lord is with them and He loves them.”
Gifts to the Catholic Appeal support the housing of men, women, children and families that have been displaced due to numerous social and economic situations. St. Joseph House in Hyannis provides 15 beds for female guests and 30 beds for male guests, as well as a winter overflow program on nights when the temperature drops below 28 degrees. It offers a day program for men and women of all ages who are currently or formerly homeless, or at risk for homelessness. The day program serves as a safe place to gather for meals, activities that foster connection and skill building, and the loving support of the caring and compassionate team at the shelter.
The manager of St. Joseph House, Nickesha “Nicky” James, commented, “With the donations that we receive, we are able to provide shelter for a whole host of people on the Cape. It’s vital. It helps us to keep our doors open – and in turn, help all the people that come to our door. So it is very important to keep our lights on, help us feed the public, or provide assistance to anyone that needs it.”
Pope Francis once said, “Yes, you pray for the hungry. But then, you feed them. This is how prayer works.” Gifts and pledges to the Catholic Appeal gift help fund the work of the Pope Francis Outreach Center located at Good Shepherd Parish in the south end of Fall River. The Outreach Center brings together individuals of all ages seeking nourishment of body and spirit, offering food, fellowship, a thrift store, and a warming center for the city. Its popular “Grab & Go” meals program has been a staple of the community since 2020.
“This is the best event every Thursday morning,” said Barbara, a regular guest. “I live alone I live alone in an apartment in the neighborhood, and here, I am socializing with people more, we have a good time. At the thrift shop, I buy books for myself and my grandchildren. If we need extra prayers, they are right here. No matter what religion, race, or creed we are – they care for us. Everybody is welcome.”
— Barbara S., a regular guest at the Pope Francis Outreach Center
There are many ways to support the Catholic Appeal during its home stretch:
— Mail to the Catholic Appeal – Diocese of Fall River, P.O. Box 237, Kensington, CT 06037-0237
— Mail or drop off to the Catholic Appeal office: 450 Highland Ave., Fall River, MA 02720
— Give or pledge online at www.GiveFRDiocese.org
— Drop off your contribution at any parish in the diocese
— Call the Catholic Appeal office at 508-675-1311 to make your gift, setup a pledge, or to ask any questions.