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placeholder February 4, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Bishop's Appeal aims for new heights

The Bishop's Appeal, the annual fundraising effort to assist Catholic services in the Oakland diocese, has set a higher goal for its 2013 effort — $2.5 million — building on two years of improved performance.


Bishop's Appeal


Use the envelope
in this issue of The Voice

The appeal can be misunderstood as just another second collection, cautioned Archbishop Alex J. Brunett at a meeting of about 40 persons at St. Callistus Parish in El Sobrante Jan. 23. Every pastor should ask: How is this going to help me?, because the appeal is "all about you … how can we help you aid the people of this diocese," Archbishop Brunett said.

Five meetings with priests and diocesan and parish workers took place at geographically diverse parts of the diocese to discuss the annual appeal and its operation.

Ken Hokenson, newly named diocesan executive director of mission advancement, said the 2012 appeal was up 9.3 percent over 2011, exceeding its goal of $2.1 million and raising $2.3 million. Fifty of the 84 parishes exceeded their individual goals, up from 44 in 2011.

Still, only 10 percent of parish households participate in the appeal, he said. "There's a tremendous potential for more money," he said. Bishop's appeals in similar dioceses to Oakland raise $5 million to $6 million.

"Strong parishes make for a strong diocese," he said. "If everyone gave $1 a day — less than a cup of coffee …"

To be more successful, Hokenson said he hoped to create a partnership across the diocese and parishes and pastors.

The Bishop's Appeal helps the diocese provide services the parishes can't provide on their own, said Mary Ann Wiesinger, associate director of the Department for Evangelization and Catechesis.

The list of services the appeal helps fund is extensive: Besides seminarian education, priest retirement and Catholic education, there is parish assistance for smaller items too big for a parish to pay for, such as a new telephone system at St. Cornelius parish, or handicapped bathrooms at St. Elizabeth, said Paul Bongiovanni, controller.

Through Feb. 7, parishes will receive materials, envelopes, prayer cards and instructions. The appeal will kick off Feb. 9 and 10 with announcements in parishes and a mailing to previous donors. Feb. 23 and 24 will be commitment weekend, when parishioners are encouraged to pledge. Follow-up efforts will begin in March.

This issue of The Catholic Voice also has envelopes for those who want to pledge or mail in a contribution.

For parishes that exceed their goal, the excess money is returned to the parish.

The appeal, Archbishop Brunett said, "is a source of income for your parish and part of a great effort we make each year to support programs."

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