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Bishop’s Annual Appeal Provides Assistance to Small Parishes

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The Diocese of Raleigh covers a wide geographic area consisting of the 54-easternmost counties of North Carolina and covering more than 32,000 square miles. It is home to more than 216,000 Catholics, who are registered in 95 parishes and mission churches, ranging in size from more than 6,300 families  St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary to a few dozen families in smaller communities in rural areas. Twenty-one of the smaller churches do not have a resident priest, many struggling to make ends meet in economically disadvantaged counties.

To help these small communities, the Diocese established annual Parish Assistance Grants, which are funded through donations to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Last year 28 grants were provided to parishes to assist with a variety of essential needs. At St. Bernadette in Butner a grant helped provide 160 tons of gravel to relieve muddy conditions that occurred in the parking lot and walkway following rain. St. Anne’s in Edenton received funding to fix twenty-three windows that were beginning to rot on the 152 year old historic church. At St. Joan of Arc Parish in Plymouth a grant provided equipment and materials to help with Catholic education classes for the small community of English and Spanish speaking members.

In Windsor, the Catholic Community of Bertie County, administered by the Glenmary Home Missioners, requested a grant, not for itself, but for the people of the impoverished county. The small Catholic community, which celebrates Sunday Mass in a Methodist Church, used the money to establish a food pantry. The community outreach has been embraced by other faith groups in the area, as well as local government, which is providing a two story house at a cost of $25.00 a year. The Bertie County initiative is another example of how donations to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, not only support the pastoral ministries of the Diocesan Church, but are maximized to their fullest to help those in need.