Warwick Catholic churches raised a total of $649,252 for the recently concluded Annual Catholic Charity Appeal.
In fact, the entire Rhode Island Catholic community was able to surpass their fundraising goal for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s campaign, raising a total of $7,827,578, the second highest total in the 88-year history of the campaign. Funds were collected over a six-month period, from February 13 until July 26.
In Warwick, St. Gregory The Great raised the most money, $132,716, surpassing their individual parish goal by more than $12,000. Five other Warwick churches also surpassed their individual goals: St. Catherine, St. Kevin, St. Peter, St. Rita and SS. Rose and Clement.
“I think it says a lot about the City of Warwick,” said Father Alfred Ricci of St. Gregory the Great of the generosity of the Catholic community in the City. He also credited the leadership within the local church community and throughout the diocese for supporting the campaign and encouraging the various parishes to be so giving.
Ricci said that faith plays a large role in the willingness to donate and added that many people understand they are blessed and therefore are willing to give to those in need.
When asked about the generosity of his own parish at St. Gregory, Ricci was not surprised. He said his congregation has always been very giving when it comes to not only the annual Appeal, but also any appeal that comes up throughout the year.
“It’s typical of them. They are very generous when it comes to those in need,” said Ricci.
The statewide goal of this year’s campaign was $7.8 million, which funds critical diocesan ministries that provide for the physical, spiritual and educational needs of Rhode Islanders. According to a press release from the Diocese, ministries that benefit from the fund include the Emmanuel House Homeless Shelter, heating assistance through the “Keep the Heat On” campaign, Our Lady of Providence Seminary, housing assistance, childcare assistance, Catholic schools and more.
This year’s total also surpassed last year’s total of $7,691,122.
According to Michael Guilfoyle, secretary for Public Affairs and Communications at the Diocese, the funds are allocated to the various ministries in the same proportion each year.
According to the 2013 Catholic Charity Appeal brochure, in 2012-2013 $2,529,897 was given to Catholic education and evangelization with funds going to the Office of Religious Education, All Saints Academy Grant and high school tuition assistance grants, among others. Also, $2,433,281 was given to Catholic charities and social ministries, including $50,000 to Keep the Heat On, $180,943 to the Saint Martin de Porres Center in Providence and $337,621 to Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Social Ministry.
The remaining more than $2.8 million from the 2012-2013 approved budget support was given to ministerial services, direct parish support and other support such as stewardship and development, property management and capital, diocesan grants, and parish campaign share distribution.
The same distribution ratio is expected this year. However, should a particular ministry have an increased need, the bishop can allocate additional funds where they are needed.
“If there is a particularly harsh winter and people are having trouble keeping their heat on, the bishop can allocate additional funds to ministries if there is a need,” said Guilfoyle.
“Each and every dollar raised in the Catholic Charity Appeal is urgently needed, is greatly appreciated and will be used to support the work of the church and to extend our mission of charity and compassion throughout the State of Rhode Island,” said The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence in a press release. “On behalf of the thousands in need throughout our state who will be served in some way thanks to the appeal, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the laity and clergy who supported this year’s effort.”
Bishop William A. Hickey established the Catholic Charity Appeal in 1925. The appeal provides desperately needed financial support for diocesan agencies that provide education, human service and spiritual development programs in the state. Funds raised through the appeal reach individuals and families residing in every city and town throughout the Diocese. From families in crisis to at-risk children, from the sick and elderly to the homeless, the appeal reaches out to those in the greatest of need, including low-income families who wish to provide their child with a faith-based education in Catholic schools.
For more information about the appeal, please visit www.diocesepvd.org/giving/catholic-charity-appeal.