In his Boston Globe blog, Articles of Faith, Michael Paulson reports on the growth of financial support for the Archdiocese of Boston through its annual Catholic Appeal. In my own parish the 2008 target for this Appeal was $102,500. As of January 16, 2008, $118,230 had been pledged to the effort by 149 households in the parish.
The Archdiocese of Boston, continuing its long, slow effort to rebuild an annual fund drive decimated by the sex abuse crisis, today is announcing (2/5/09) that it raised $15.1 million in its 2008 Annual Catholic Appeal, up from $14.6 million the previous year.
The successful campaign is particularly noteworthy because it took place during a recession, although the bulk of the fundraising was last spring, before the stock market really tanked and job losses multiplied.
The campaign is the most important annual fund drive of the archdiocese, and supports the central offices now located in Braintree, which provide services to Catholic schools and parishes. Formerly called the Cardinal's Appeal, the campaign had peaked at $17.2 million in 2000, but plunged to $8.8 million in 2002, at the height of the abuse crisis.
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, not a big fan of his own celebrity, renamed the campaign to reduce its association with the personage of the cardinal, and set an unstated goal of rebuilding the campaign by $1 million per year. But that may end this year; the archdiocese won't announce its 2009 goal for another few weeks, but it seems likely that church officials will choose a more modest goal this year -- archdiocesan spokesman Terrence C. Donilon would say only that the goal will be no lower than $15 million.
Gipson said that about 48,000 people gave to the campaign -- about the same number as last year. (The archdiocese claims that there are 2 million Catholics in its territory, but weekly church attendance, which is a better measure of active Catholics, runs about 295,000.)
(read the whole post)
(Photo: Bill Greene/Globe staff Graphic: David Schutz/Globe staff)