The diocese formally launched the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) on Sunday, January 16 at St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk, when Bishop Frank J. Caggiano was joined by pastors throughout the diocese to celebrate Mass and ask for blessings on the campaign and the work of the Church in Fairfield County.
About 100 pastors, parish chair people, and other campaign leaders turned out for the Mass and the reception that followed in the Great Room of St. Matthew’s.
The theme of the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal is “Renewed in Faith, Hope and Charity.” The diocese has set an $11 million goal to fund its major ministries, programs and service agencies.
Bishop Caggiano praised chair couple Julie and Rowan Taylor of New Canaan, welcomed the new vice chair couples, Maureen and Mike Considine of Stamford, and Elena and Steve Schlegel of New Canaan, and thanked the many men and women now serving as parish co-chairs.
The bishop noted that last year’s appeal was a success because individual donors increased the amount of their gifts, but said he was concerned about a decline in the overall participation rate. He challenged all Catholics to give sacrificially at whatever level they were capable of making a donation.
“Gathering in prayer for the success of our work together is a wonderful way to begin the 2016 Appeal and I am grateful to our pastors, appeal lay co-chairs and all those who are stepping forward to lead the appeal this year,” said Bill McLean, chief development officer for the diocese.
Pam Rittman, director of the Annual Catholic Appeal, said that the ACA Education Weekend is set for January 30 and 31 in all parishes. “On this weekend the Annual Catholic Appeal formally begins,” said Rittman who added that the new appeal brochure and video are also available.
“The powerful new video shows some of the faces behind the appeal and across the diocese, both those who are served and those who give generously to support the Church’s mission,” she said.
Among those interviewed in this year’s video are Father Samuel Scott, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Danbury; Father Andy Vill, parochial vicar at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford; Dr. Brian Jenkins, executive director at New Covenant House, Stamford; the appeal lay chair couple, Julie and Rowan Taylor; and major benefactor Sarita Hanley.
Rittman said the 2016 Appeal video is one of the best ways to make parishioners aware of the many uses of the funds raised in the appeal. “I ask that you make every attempt to play the video or the audio message at all Masses.”
(For more info or to give online, go to www.2016ACAbridgeport.com, or phone (203) 416-1470)