FURTHERING THE MISSION – Exploring Donor Impact

Furthering the Mission with Monsignor Jamie J. Gigantiello

The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) from a Parish Perspective

Rev. Monsignor Jamie J. Gigantiello
Vicar for Development, Diocese of Brooklyn

The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) from a Parish Perspective

Article 1 – Our Role as Stewards

“It seems like the Church is always asking for money,” this has been said by many parishioners and even by some priests, for as long as the Church has solicited funds. The mission of the Church is to continue God’s work of bringing about a community of faith, hope and charity. From the very beginning, as the Church began to form as a community, the first followers of Jesus began this tradition of sharing their wealth to help one another. Their focus was both to care for their poor and to help the early Church leaders to spread the Word of Jesus by preaching the Gospel.

The Church in Brooklyn and Queens has been a generous model of Christian responsibility.  Together we care for the poor, educate our youth, teach the faith, and build suitable places of worship to provide the sacraments. A key example of how we work together as a community of faith is the Annual Catholic Appeal.  Each year, thanks to your donations to the Annual Catholic Appeal, the Church throughout Brooklyn and Queens is able to carry out many of our faith-based ministries that no one parish can do alone, such as training and ordaining priests to serve in parishes, administering the programs of Catholic Charities and training catechists and other ministers.

The Annual Catholic Appeal brings us together as a community of faith to provide the financial support necessary to do the good works of the Church throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Each parish has a responsibility based on previous giving to support the work of our Diocese. Each parish is assigned an Annual Catholic Appeal goal, that is included as a part of the overall goal for the Diocese.  This year the Diocesan goal of the Annual Catholic Appeal is $8 million. Unique within each parish goal, is a parish’s plan to raise additional funds for its own projects, as 100% of funds raised above the parish goal go directly back to that parish.

In the next two articles you will hear about the ACA plan and local parish fundraisers through the ACA. Nina Rivera, who is on her parish ACA team at St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens, expresses her role as steward, “God has gifted all of us with countless blessings . . . our time, talent or treasure (or all three!) are meant to be shared. We all have to help in any way we can; that’s what God wants!” In the Gospel, Jesus instructed his followers to help those in need, to be generous and share, and to love their neighbor as themselves.  Your support of the Annual Catholic Appeal, as a faithful steward, furthers the mission of the Church.

We’d like to hear from you. How has your parish community benefitted from your role as steward? Please email us at info@cfbq.org. ###

The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) from a Parish Perspective
Article 2 – The Parish Plan

Last time, I wrote about the important role of steward we each take on, as parish priests, professional staff, lay volunteers and fellow parishioners to support the Annual Catholic Appeal in every parish each year. Throughout our Diocese, countless individuals have made a lasting impact on the life of the Church and its ability to share the faith with the next generation. It all starts with a plan.

The Annual Catholic Appeal plan calls for every parish to personally invite parishioners to participate. Whether by one-on-one visits, receptions or direct mail, each parishioner is invited to give. After all personal forms of invitation to participate have been attempted, a “Commitment Weekend” is conducted, when the works of the Appeal are introduced at Sunday Mass. All approaches are important to ensure that each individual is included in the parish’s plan to achieve its ACA goal. The plan works!

An important part of the plan is the assembling of a team to help with the many tasks involved. At St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens, Nina Rivera chairs the parish Annual Catholic Appeal team. A retiree from the financial industry, she uses her talents to assist the pastor Fr. John Francis and works with many volunteers in the parish to follow through on all the steps of the plan. Nina explains, “helping my parish reach its ACA goal is my way of sharing God’s blessings, thanking Him for these, and in a small way, following Christ’s example of self-sacrificing love.”

Over in in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, there are many different immigrant communities of modest financial means in a parish that struggled to reach its Annual Catholic Appeal goal. The pastor, Fr. James Gilmour, contacted his Field Representative at Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens seeking assistance. He began implementing many approaches of the ACA plan not previously attempted. Among them were parish receptions inviting parishioners to join with the pastor and parish ACA team for refreshments to learn more about the impact they could make on the life of the church through their support of the ACA. Fr. Gilmour shares with his parish that, “the Annual Catholic Appeal supports the diocesan ministries that serve our parish community. We give from our blessings and are blessed in return by the diocesan ministries.”

Thanks to the generosity of the people of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the parish’s commitment to following the ACA plan, the parish met and exceeded its goal in 2018. The Appeal was so successful that, when compared to the previous year, the dollar amount of the pledges had doubled! It was a truly inspiring accomplishment. This coming together of the parish to follow the Annual Catholic Appeal plan truly served to further the mission of the Church throughout Brooklyn and Queens. As an added benefit to the parish, monies raised above the parish goal were directed back to the parish, something we will hear more about in our next article. ###

The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) from a Parish Perspective
Article 3 – Using the Annual Catholic Appeal as a Parish Fundraiser

We learned in our last article about how Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset, Brooklyn was successful in running the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) by following the plan. At St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens, we learned much of their success is driven by the involvement of their ACA parish team. Another compelling part of the Annual Catholic Appeal is utilizing the “over-goal” feature of the program to raise money for a special project at the parish.

What makes the accomplishment of surpassing a parish’s Annual Catholic Appeal goal so significant, in addition to supporting the good works of the Church throughout Brooklyn and Queens, is the fact that a parish receives back 100% of all funds raised over its published goal – it’s a great motivating factor in engaging the parish community. Parishes participating in the ACA have the unique opportunity to raise their own funds using the resources and infrastructure of the Appeal. The most effective way to accomplish this is to name a specific parish project that the faithful in the community can support as their own.

At Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Jamaica, Queens, each year the pastor, Fr. Manuel Rodriguez, introduces the ACA along with a special project that is specific to the parish. They set their goal higher than the parish ACA goal to allow the opportunity to support both the ACA and their parish initiative. The parish recently came together with the hopes of restoring the church bell system with the monies raised over goal. “To make anything successful you must have a vision and a plan and then be able to execute that plan effectively. People need to see results; to know where their hard-earned money is going.”  says Parish Director of Development and Fundraising, Faria Sookdeo. And those results have been phenomenal as Presentation parishioners experience the sounds of the refurbished bells.

In Park Slope, Brooklyn, at Holy Family – St. Thomas Aquinas, leaders in the parish community came together and decided that it was well past time to address the need for air conditioning in the church. Taking up that charge this year, this special project was announced to the people as the “over-goal” project for the 2019 ACA. The parish has already raised more than $44,000 in pledges above the established ACA goal and the installation of the new air conditioning units has been completed.

What greater motivation is there than to be able to support an initiative that benefits your beloved parish community and the larger Church in Brooklyn and Queens. Participating in the Annual Catholic Appeal and collectively donating funds above the parish goal make this possible. It does not come without hard work. Accepting the role of steward, following the plan, being a part of the team and setting a goal for a special parish project are all elements of a successful Appeal, which helps to further the mission of the Church.

We’d like to hear from you. What project(s) would you like to see happen as an Annual Catholic Appeal over-goal fundraiser? Please email us at info@cfbq.org. ###