By Colleen Rowan/The Catholic Spirit
With a $2 million goal, the annual Catholic Sharing Appeal has begun with the theme Almost Heaven. “Because our diocese encompasses the entirety of our state, we wanted this year’s theme to tie into that,” said Krissie Benson, director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese. “West Virginia is almost heaven in so many ways, from our beautiful landscape to our wonderful people, and the Catholic Sharing Appeal is a direct reflection of that.”
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.
“The CSA is a wonderful way to support our diocesan programs and ministries, while also providing for the needs of our parishes and missions,” said Heidi Sforza, assistant director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese. “Whether we are helping families with tuition assistance to pay for a Catholic education, providing assistance after a flood, or televising Mass for the sick or homebound, these are all ways we make a real difference in the lives of those who are touched by the CSA.”
The appeal gives the faithful a chance to support diocesan ministries while, at the same time, support their parish. In the appeal, the first 50 percent of the parish goal funds various diocesan ministries. All funds raised over the first 50 percent are returned to parishes, including every dollar over goal.
“Although many aspects of the appeal change from year to year, the one component that remains the same is the return of a large share of the funding received that goes back to our parishes,” Benson said. “Since the inception of the Catholic Sharing Appeal in 2017, more than $17 million has been raised, and more than half of that, more than $9 million has been returned to parishes. In particular, in 2017 $848,000 supported diocesan ministries, while $1,705,000 was given back to parishes to support their most important needs.”
Last year’s CSA had a record-breaking year, raising more than $2.57 million, which Benson said was due in large part to the faithful recognizing that the appeal provides essential funding for their parishes.
“So many of our parishes are using their share of the CSA to reduce their debt and pay on loans, to pay for building maintenance, or to purchase new liturgical resources,” she said. “We’re seeing a trend in parishes utilizing the appeal in ways to help them fund even bigger projects like building parish halls, replacing a roof or even paving an entire parking lot. These are projects that the parishioners are really rallying behind and supporting in a big way.”
There are several ways to contribute to the CSA. Donors can make a pledge or donate directly by using a credit card, personal check or by using direct debit. Donors may also make a gift of appreciated securities. Gifts can be broken down into eight monthly payments to make is easier for supporters to give. Gifts may be sent to: Catholic Sharing Appeal, PO Box 230, Wheeling, WV, 26003. A mailing with information about the appeal and ways to donate went out to parishioners of the diocese April 13. For more information about the appeal, visit www.dwc.org/CSA.