Generous indeed: donations to Annual Diocesan Appeal exceed goal

North Texas Catholic
(Jul 11, 2023) Local

Fr. Jujuvarapu celebrates Mass

Father Bose Jujuvarapu, HGN, parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Church in Seymour, prays during a daily Mass on July 6, 2023. His parish community met their Annual Diocesan Appeal goal once again in fiscal year 2023. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

FORT WORTH — The faithful of the Diocese of Fort Worth are a people grateful for the gifts which God has given them.

Donations to the 2022-2023 Annual Diocesan Appeal, sponsored by the Advancement Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, surpassed the goal of $3.5 million.

When the campaign — with the theme A Call to Gratitude — closed on June 30, 2023, the total amount raised was $3,692,168, a 6.4 percent increase over the $3,470,723 raised for the previous year’s campaign.

A total of 9,288 individuals and families contributed to the Annual Diocesan Appeal, which supports rural and financially struggling parishes; Catholic Charities Fort Worth; formation for deacons and seminarians; mothers in crisis pregnancies; tuition assistance, security, and learning support in Catholic schools; and other needs in the 92 parishes, 17 schools, and various ministries in the diocese.

In his letter introducing the 2022-2023 Appeal, Bishop Michael Olson explained, "In the Diocese of Fort Worth, much of our charitable outreach and acts of solidarity are carried out through the Annual Diocesan Appeal."

The amount raised is the highest level of support in the 40-year history of the annual campaign, according to Rachel Martinez, CFRE, director of annual giving and grants for the Advancement Foundation.

girl with songbook in Mass
An All Saints student sings during the school Mass on May 17, 2023 at All Saints Catholic Church in Fort Worth. The Annual Diocesan Appeal supports Catholic education through tuition assistance and grants for learning support specialists and security. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

She attributes the generosity to three reasons.

First, she said, pastors have demonstrated they are committed to the Appeal, explaining that the Church goes beyond a particular parish and encouraging sacrificial giving to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need across the diocese.

Exactly 34 parishes in the diocese met or exceeded their goal, including Sacred Heart Parish in Seymour and St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Megargel. Father Bose Jujuvarapu, HGN, parochial vicar of the parishes since 2019, said the congregation is “eager to help. Everyone does their part, and they are kind, supportive and generous as a parish.”

The parishioners, according to Fr. Jujuvarapu, understand that supporting the Appeal shows “love of God and love of neighbor, giving assistance for diversified purposes throughout the diocese.” 

Martinez thinks another reason for topping the goal was the ease of online giving. The number of members of the St. Francis Circle, who make a monthly gift through an autodraft from a bank account or credit card, grew from about 500 to 861.

Finally, Martinez said that increasing the number of giving societies, designated by various giving levels ranging from $500 to $50,000, encouraged some donors to expand their gift.

She said, “The theme, A Call to Gratitude, resonated with Catholics across the diocese, and they answered the call. The faithful looked at their lives and at God’s generosity and chose stewardship throughout the year by supporting the Annual Appeal.”

An increase in charity didn’t end with the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Renée Underwood, CFRE, chief development officer of the Advancement Foundation, said giving levels were up throughout the diocese, as seen in an increase in parish offertories, special collections, and capital campaigns.

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