78th annual Catholic Charities Appeal,
‘See All the People,’ surpasses $4M

FALL RIVER, Mass. — The 78th annual Catholic Charities Appeal, “See All the People,” has come to a close, and this year more than 20,000 generous supporters came forward making gifts totaling $4.1 million to sustain the Appeal’s longstanding mission of serving those in greatest need throughout the Diocese of Fall River.

“Each year, I am so grateful for the generosity and compassion that the people of our diocese show those who are most in need among us, through their faithful support of the Catholic Charities Appeal,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. “To uphold our tradition of service and commitment to others for nearly 80 years through this most important Appeal, is a testament to our duty to live in Christ, in all ways.” 

“As a Fall River native and resident, it is truly inspiring to see how the work of the agencies and apostolates supported by the CCA makes a huge difference right in our backyards,” said Rebecca Hancock, Director of Annual Giving and Stewardship at The Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. “‘See All the People’ is a reminder of what we are called to do as Catholics: recognize the needs that exist all around us — and take action to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

This year, all parishes were given the option to partner with The Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts in managing the day-to-day work in support of the Appeal. The Foundation managed the mailings, gift collection and gift processing, and regular reporting for more than 50 parishes, easing a considerable administrative and financial burden for two-thirds of the diocese. 

Donors to the Appeal have also been receiving thank you letters from Bishop da Cunha throughout the Appeal as part of a continuing effort to acknowledge gifts of all sizes.

While Bishop da Cunha acknowledged that local, national and international challenges in the Church of late may have impacted Appeal returns, he said he is “excited about the new Catholic Foundation infrastructure and the ability of staff to continuously improve the fundraising capability of the diocese.”

The bishop also pointed out the need “to be committed as a diocese to ‘Rebuilding in Faith and Hope’ to ensure that the legacy of wonderful and faithful donors to the Appeal from years past continues with the support of successive generations,” which he also acknowledged as a challenge.

Among initiatives of the Catholic Foundation to support the 2019 CCA were a series of focus videos highlighting specific ministries benefitting from donor support of the Appeal, and plans call for the series to continue with new topics and areas of focus in 2020. 

In June, a $50,000 match challenge was made possible through a generous gift from The Carney Family Charitable Foundation, allowing gifts to be matched one-to-one until the goal was achieved within a few short days. Also, for the very first time, Chancery staff members were given the opportunity to support the CCA through automatic payroll deduction, a quick and easy way for staff to show support for it throughout the year.

 “It has been a pleasure to work with the Foundation team on this year’s Catholic Charities Appeal,” said Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Patrick Parishes in Falmouth and St. Anthony Parish in East Falmouth. “Their efforts have brought a renewed enthusiasm and professionalism to the cause and greatly supported us here on the parish level.”

A focus on collecting emails this year will allow faithful supporters to receive regular updates on the good works made possible through their generosity. A hardcopy and online publication featuring an honor roll of donors will be produced in the months ahead. 

And throughout the year, The Catholic Foundation’s new website — www.catholicfoundationsema.org — will feature updates and news associated with the Appeal, including parish totals, revenues and expenditure reports, and inspiring stories from those whose lives have been transformed through CCA gifts. 

The CCA is a significant part of The Catholic Foundation’s work in support of our diocese’s extensive philanthropic efforts, but the work does not end there. The Foundation is actively growing its new giving society, The Anima Christi Society, which is dedicated to celebrating the many generous individuals who have included the diocese or their parishes in their estate plans. 

The Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) is also served by The Catholic Foundation, with exciting, new opportunities to support Catholic school scholarships underway. Interested donors may also contact the Foundation to discuss ways to support a specific mission or fund that is meaningful and dear to them. 

Steering The Catholic Foundation as the service “hub” for all diocesan fund-raising efforts is an engaged and dynamic Board of Directors, who have collectively pledged more than $8 million. The Catholic Foundation’s Board of Directors are: Co-Chairmen Patrick Carney and Nick Christ; George Agostini; Bob Long; Richard Lafrance; Father Marcel Bouchard, spiritual director; Bishop da Cunha; Father John Murray, moderator of the curia; and Father Richard Wilson, vicar general; as well as honorary board member Joseph Ciffolillo. 

“The Catholic Foundation is eager to continue to build our team and our levels of service to strengthen and sustain our Diocese of Fall River for generations to come,” said Catholic Foundation CEO Miriam “Mim” Finn Sherman. 

While the parish phase of the 2019 Catholic Charities Appeal has come to a close, the CCA is part of the Catholic Foundation’s growing annual giving program, which encourages the generous support of parishioners and friends year-round. 

Donations can always be made online at givefrdiocese.org/cca19 throughout the year or mailed to the Catholic Charities Appeal office, 450 Highland Avenue, Fall River, Mass. 02720. 

They may also continue to be dropped off at any parish in the diocese. 

Final parish totals for the 2019 Catholic Charities Appeal will be reported in the Aug. 9, 2019 edition of The Anchor.

© 2020 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts