The 2010 Diocesan Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) is underway. This year’s goal is $5,613,503. Donations to the Appeal fund the pastoral and social outreach programs of the Church in the Diocese of Raleigh. Fifty-four percent of the collection supports Pastoral Programs; twenty percent is provided to Catholic Charities for its work in the 54 counties of the Diocese; fifteen percent is for Ordained Ministries, which include the formation of seminarians and permanent deacon candidates; nine percent for Grants and Contingencies; and two percent for the Diocese of Raleigh Home Mission Society.
The theme of the 2010 campaign is “Stewards of God’s Gifts.” In a letter to the people, Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge said, “As followers of Christ, we are called to respond to those in need. As stewards of God’s gifts, it is our responsibility to prayerfully consider our blessings and how we can give back to best serve Him.”
Bishop Burbidge noted BAA donations last year, helped Catholic Charities provide much needed assistance to more than 50,000 individuals, an increase over previous years due to the country’s struggling economy. In addition, the Diocese was able to provide grants to 29 small parishes to help meet expenses and to assist with much needed repair to some Church facilities; repair that the small faith communities were unable to afford.
In extending his gratitude for the support given to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal over the years, Bishop Burbidge explained that only through continued support can the Diocese continue to help those in need; train men for the Priesthood; provide catechetical training to adults and youth; and support the work of more than two dozen other ministries. “As Saint Peter teaches us,” Bishop Burbidge wrote, noting 1 Peter 4:10, “we must respond to God’s abundant blessings not only with thanks and praise, but also with service, sharing His grace with one another as active Stewards of God’s Gifts.
In January, Bishop Burbidge visited each of the Diocese’s eight deaneries, meeting with parish representatives who are in charge of the appeal in their churches. The dinner gathering included viewing this year’s Bishop’s Annual Appeal video and hearing a talk by Bishop Burbidge. Many of the parishes show the video, which features several examples of how the BAA funds are used. This year’s video highlights a seminarian, examples of parish assistance grants and how Catholic Charities works at partnering with other agencies, including local government, in serving the needs of the disadvantaged.
In the coming weeks, several examples of BAA funded programs will be featured on the Diocesan web site to further illustrate BAA donations at work.