FALL RIVER—The 82nd Annual Catholic Appeal of the Diocese of Fall River officially kicked off on Monday, May 1, and runs through June 30. This year’s Appeal theme, “Do This in Memory of Me,” is inspired by the National Eucharistic Revival and calls us to serve our brothers and sisters in their moments of greatest need: to be the hands and feet of Jesus, loving one another as He has loved us.
Since the Catholic Appeal first launched in 1942, annual gifts and pledges have supported all the agencies, programs, and ministries of the diocese, providing food and shelter, educating children and adults, and meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of tens of thousands of individuals and families. The diocese spans from Mansfield, Easton and the Attleboros, through the Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford areas, and extends all the way to Cape Cod and the Islands.
In a message to the faithful of the Diocese of Fall River, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. stated, “The theme of our 82nd Annual Catholic Appeal, ‘Do This in Memory of Me,’ inspires us to keep the sacred mystery of our faith — the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist — at the center of how we live each moment of our lives. We are in the middle of a National Eucharistic Revival: an important opportunity for us to reconnect with our Savior, with the Church, and with our faith. What better time to rekindle a flame of hope across the Diocese of Fall River, by sharing the gifts our Lord has so lovingly bestowed upon us.
“Our modern world makes it very difficult to pass along the traditions and values we have shared as a Church for 2,000 years; this includes the practice of going to Mass. But it’s precisely because of these secular distractions that we must fight to uphold the teachings of our Catholic faith. Something as simple as gathering around a table and sharing a meal together binds us. This particular meal of the Eucharist, when we gather around the table of the Lord, promotes and brings about our unity in Jesus and with each other.”
The Catholic Appeal supports the work of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fall River (formerly Catholic Social Services), which serves and ministers to nearly 40,000 individuals throughout the diocese each year. Catholic Charities offers assistance with basic and emergency needs including housing to women, men, children, and families, addiction recovery services, support for persons with disabilities, as well as much-needed sustenance to those suffering from food insecurity.
In the past year, Catholic Charities also launched a new Mental Health Ministry, which is spearheading the development and implementation of Mental Health Ministry teams at parishes throughout the diocese to provide support and accompaniment for parishioners and their families.
The new ministry provides triage, assessment and short-term care/counseling for those dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and other life challenges. It also offers education, awareness, and companionship for those affected by mental health issues and their loved ones. Referrals can come from pastors or any individuals interested in services for themselves or others.
“Thousands in our midst are crying out for healing, for caring, for assurance and hope,” said Bishop da Cunha. “As a diocese, we are working to meet a need that has become quite literally, mission critical — reminding those struggling they are never alone. Our donations to the Appeal truly save lives.”
The Catholic Appeal also funds the work of our hospital chaplains and care for residents of our diocesan nursing homes, the weekly Television Mass, support for our retired priests and our seminarians, programs for youth and families, the Office of Family and Respect Life, scholarship aid and tuition abatement for our Catholic schools, and much more.
The 2022 Catholic Appeal raised $4.3 million through the generosity of 16,000 donors to sustain these important programs and ministries. This year’s Catholic Appeal goal is $4.6 million to ensure the diocese can continue its mission of bringing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy to life.
Continuing as an added incentive this year, half of every dollar raised over a parish’s fundraising goal will be returned to the parish for its use. Last year, 27 parishes — the largest number since the incentive program began in 2020 — qualified for and received an incentive reward.
Additional information on this year’s Catholic Appeal is available on its website: www.catholicfoundationsema.org/catholic-appeal-2023. The website includes a video message featuring Bishop da Cunha, a series of short “Ministry Moment” videos focusing on specific areas supported by gifts to the Appeal, and a summary of how the funds raised through the 2022 Catholic Appeal were distributed across the various ministries and programs it supports.
Contributions to the Appeal may be made either through a one-time donation or through monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual pledges. There are many ways to make your gift or pledge:
— 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 Avenue, 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.