Catholic Sharing Appeal Reaches Record of More Than $3.3 Million

By Colleen Rowan

WEST VIRGINIA—The 2018 Catholic Sharing Appeal (CSA) culminated with a record of more than $3.3 million raised by 5,287 donors at parishes of the diocese.

The overwhelming success of the appeal, said Krissie Benson, director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese, is attributed to so many.  “Primarily, to the parish priests for talking with parishioners about the needs of the local community; and through supporting those needs, parishioners are also joining together and helping to meet the needs of the greater church across West Virginia,” she said.  “It is an appeal that at first glance is a diocesan campaign, but looking deeper is truly an appeal that enhances parish life.  I feel blessed to witness the people of the diocese working together to achieve their parish goals, thereby, achieving the diocesan goal. 

“In a special way,” Benson continued, “I would like to thank the parishioners for their generosity to their parish and the diocese through the Catholic Sharing Appeal.  And to the pastors, parish secretaries, and CSA volunteers — thank you so much for your dedication, hard work and support of the Catholic Sharing Appeal. We appreciate each and every one of you!”

The 2018 CSA surpassed its goal by more than $1.3 million, and shattered last year’s record $2.5 million raised.

“Each year we ask the faithful of West Virginia to participate in the CSA, and each year they blow us away with their generosity,” said Heidi Sforza, assistant director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese. “Since the start of the appeal in 2007, we’ve raised more than $20 million to help provide pastoral leaders with the tools they need to help them teach the faith, celebrate the sacraments, and build a vibrant culture of life centered around the Eucharist. We cannot thank our donors enough for helping the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to do the work of Christ every day.”

The appeal helps fund more than 20 programs and ministries in the diocese, which provide outreach, formation, evangelization, Catholic education and advocacy for thousands of families and individuals throughout West Virginia. Vocations, Formation and Mission, Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Communications and Marketing are just a sampling of the various ministries that receive funding through the CSA.

Parish priests say that the appeal is a vehicle to address needs of the parish while, at the same time, supporting the needs of diocesan ministries.

“The CSA is an opportunity to renew the message of our shared responsibility to be good stewards of treasure,” said Msgr. Paul Hudock, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling. “Our parish leadership set clear goals for the CSA money, such as improvements to the church buildings, and invited the people to get behind those goals. We strive to be as transparent as possible, communicating what the money raised accomplished for the parish. The CSA helped the parish to replace the roof of our church building, replace windows in the rectory and upgrade our church parking lot.”

The appeal gives hope on multiple levels, said Father Sebastian Devasya, pastor of Sacred Heart parishes in Princeton and Bluefield. “First, we come together in unity as the Body of Christ to support the programs and good works of our Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Secondly, we are many parts. On a local level, we receive back a portion of our contributions for the needs of our own parishes. On the surface, it may appear that the Catholic Sharing Appeal is primarily a monetary endeavor, however, if we look deeper, it is much more than that. It is a spiritual journey with God and his people. We come together to live out our Catholic calling. By collectively sharing our treasure, we are able to enhance and multiply our ability to serve the poor, to educate, to evangelize, to worship, to make a difference – to give hope to the hopeless. Through the Catholic Sharing Appeal, we are part of something much bigger than each individual church. As it is in the heavens—when many distinct stars come together, they make one beautiful and radiant light!” 

The understanding that the monies raised are returned to the parish, is what makes the CSA so successful each year at St. Michael Parish in Vienna, said the pastor, Father John Gallagher: “We have met and exceeded our goal for the past seven years because of the generosity of the people.  The fact that the monies are used to help those in need, including our own parish make for a win-win campaign.”     

Goal: $2,000,000
Amount Raised: $3,316,287
Number of Gifts: 5,287
Raised $3,316,287 towards the $2,000,000 target.

The Catholic Sharing Appeal (CSA) supports the work of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.  As Christians, each of us has a responsibility to share our blessings with others.  After reflecting upon the ministries funded by the CSA, please consider making a gift.

In 2007, the Catholic Sharing Appeal was restructured to more adequately reflect the needs of the various ministries and programs throughout our Diocese, creating a broader case for support and increasing the amount of funding that parishes and missions receive back from the Appeal for their needs. The Catholic Sharing Appeal became a real moment of sharing across our Diocese, uniting the needs of various diocesan and parochial ministries with the generosity of all our people. 

The Catholic Sharing Appeal supports the work of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.  It is a unified appeal conducted each year in parishes and missions throughout the Diocese.  Although the Appeal seeks to raise dollars, it is not only about money. It also provides an opportunity for the faithful of West Virginia to reflect on the investment of one’s time and God-given talents.

Donations to the CSA provide programs, ministries and services that aid the Church throughout the Mountain State.  As Catholics, each of us has a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

22.5% Catholic Education—Our Catholic school communities are committed to providing quality education in the Catholic tradition for all students in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment.  CSA funding supports 19 elementary schools and six high schools through professional development for over 500 faculty and staff; technology and curriculum enhancements for over 5,200 students; and over $900,000 in tuition assistance is made available to students, partially funded through the CSA.

20%  Catholic Charities West Virginia—A generous tithe from the CSA to Catholic Charities West Virginia provides additional funding for its statewide services such as food and utility assistance, help and guidance for people working to improve their family’s circumstances, and programs that provide for children and the elderly.

15% Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry—The mission of these offices is to help young people fall in love with Jesus Christ and the Church. Camp Magis is offered to every 7th grader in our Catholic schools and a three-day leadership Summit is also offered to every sophomore. The office hosts four Confirmation/Youth Rallies, serving more than 800 students. Summer programs, including Camp Bosco and Manus Christi, reach thousands of young people from around the state. Campus Ministry programs serve students at 10 universities and colleges around the state, and provide places for students to stay connected and grow in faith.

10% Communication & Marketing—The diocese keeps the faithful informed through various media. Live televised Mass is broadcast throughout the state, reaching more than 200,000 households, and is available on Light of Life Radio Ministry and the diocesan website. Our Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Spirit, is distributed twice per month to over 35,000 recipients. More than 150 websites have been created for parishes, schools and diocesan ministries with more than 80 of those currently hosted by the diocese. Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are used to spread the Good News throughout the state.

7.5% Formation & Mission—Funding from the CSA supports Lay Ministry through training and education for parish catechists who teach the Catholic faith to others through RCIA, parish religious education, sacramental preparation and adult formation. Additional funds assist in parish-based marriage workshops, companioning couple programs and Natural Family Planning programs to foster strong marriages and family life. 

6.5% School-Based Health Programs—Staffed with trained healthcare professionals, these programs foster the development of health services and programs. In Catholic schools, these programs and services emphasize the importance of prevention, healthy education, basic screenings and healthcare access. 

6% Other Diocesan Ministries—The following ministries receive funding from the CSA to support their work:  Safe Environment – programs to protect our children and young people; Diocesan Archives – a resource for educating and enriching the public about the state’s Catholic heritage; Worship & Sacraments – assist in planning and preparing diocesan liturgical events, serve as a liturgical resource for parishes and schools, as well as assist parishes with Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, celebration of Confirmation and purchasing liturgical resources. 

5% Vocations—Among the four vocations within the life of the Church – priesthood, religious life, marriage and the single life – the Office of Vocations seeks to promote the discernment of the priesthood. CSA funding supports ten current seminarians, as well as various programs and retreats designed to assist young men who are discerning priesthood. 

2.5% Diocesan Mission Grants—A portion of CSA funds will be available to assist the 18 missions of the diocese with their most pressing needs, such as immediate repairs and maintenance to their buildings. 

5% CSA Costs—A small portion of funding helps to offset the cost of marketing the CSA through printed materials, trainings for pastors, secretaries and CSA volunteers, as well as postage for mailings.

How you can support the Catholic Sharing Appeal:

Pledge – Make a pledge payable over eight months in response to a mailing you receive at home or an in-pew appeal at your local parish. Pledging allows you to make a greater gift over time, without overburdening your budget. When you make a pledge, you will receive monthly reminder statements in the mail until your pledge is paid in full, or until December 2018. You can switch to credit card or direct debit at any time by using the pledge reminder statements to indicate this change.   

One-Time Gift – Give a one-time contribution in response to a mailing you receive at home or in-pew appeal at your local parish. Gifts can be made payable to “Catholic Sharing Appeal” and note the name of your parish in the memo line of your check. Please do not send cash through the mail.

Follow your parish progress by checking the website, social media posts and email updates.

You can complete your gift in many different ways:

Personal Check – Make your check payable to the “Catholic Sharing Appeal” and note the name of your parish in the memo line.

Credit Card – We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. 

Direct Debit – Recurring monthly gifts can be made by EFT through a checking account.

Online Gift – One-time gifts or recurring monthly gifts can be made through our website:  www.dwc.org/CSA. 

Stock Donation – Make a gift of appreciated securities and receive the tax benefits for giving stock.  A stock donation form and instruction sheet can be downloaded from our website:  www.dwc.org/csa.

Gifts may be made through December 31, 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Catholic Sharing Appeal?

The Catholic Sharing Appeal (CSA) is a direct appeal that provides income for
Diocesan ministries, programs, services and parish needs.

Does the parish have to pay assessments on the Parish Share portion?

At this time, the Parish Share portions returned to the parishes are assessment free.

Does the parish have to achieve goal to receive their parish share?

The first 50% of the parish goal will benefit diocesan ministries and programs. Each additional dollar raised, will be returned to the parish, including all dollars raised over goal.

How are parish goals determined?

Parish goals are determined based on the percentage of the overall diocesan collection the parish represents from 2016 (most recent data available). For example, if a parish represents 2% of the overall diocesan collection; that parish goal would be 2% of the overall CSA goal.

When will pledge redemption begin?

Parishioners who make pledges will receive their first pledge reminder mailing one month after their pledge has been recorded by the Stewardship and Development Office. Pledge reminders will be mailed the first of every month until pledges are paid in full.

How will the parish receive credit for parishioner gifts?

Each pledge card includes the parishioner’s registered parish below the address information. Please encourage your parishioners to double check this registry on their cards. For gifts made through the in-pew envelope, a space is provided for the parish, and the correct city of the parish. These must be filled in, in order for the parish to receive credit.

Can parishioners restrict their gifts to one or more areas in the case for support?

No, all gifts will be used for the purposes outlined by the diocese as published in the CSA materials, and by the local pastor as publicized to his parish through the direct mail letter.

What type of gifts will be accepted?

Traditional gifts via personal check are accepted, as well as payments made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express) or through direct debit with a checking account. Other gifts such as appreciated securities or stock, easily liquidated property, and bequests are also accepted. Parishioners can also make gifts on this website by following the link at the top, Donate.

God of all creation,
We give you thanks for the majestic beauty
that you have bestowed on the state of West Virginia.
In the wonderful mountains, rivers, and forests
we see a reflection of your infinite goodness.

Help us to be good stewards of the gifts you have given to us.
Help us to continue to build the Church through our ministries in this beautiful state.

As members of the Body of Christ, may our participation in the
Catholic Sharing Appeal be a sign of our thankfulness and enable us to
serve the needs of all who call our Mountain State home.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.