by Paula Ebert
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s always nice to meet expectations.
But it’s even nicer to blow the top off of them.
As of April 15, the Archbishop’s Call to Share annual appeal was 118 percent over goal.
Not that organizers are taking any of the credit for themselves, however.
All the credit, said Father Ric Halvorson, chairman of the Clergy Advisory Committee, goes to the thousands of Catholics throughout the archdiocese who gave so generously.
“The Archbishop’s Call to Share is a tradition in the diocese,” said Father Halvorson, who is also pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Paola. “We are thankful for the people of the diocese coming together to support the more than 40 ministries funded by the Call to Share.”
Some programs, like the archdiocesan office of deaf ministry, are entirely funded by the annual appeal. Pat Richey, the consultant for the office, said this ministry forges a vital link between the deaf community and the Catholic Church.
“In the past, the deaf had less access to the church. Through our services, deaf people are able to have their spiritual growth and leadership fostered,” she said. “I’m so grateful to all who give to Call to Share.”
The office provides religious education for students, adult religious education, Bible studies, RCIA, and hosts a retreat every fall. In addition, the office can arrange for deaf translation at weddings and funerals.
Father Halvorson said that priest involvement with the campaign is a key component in its continuing success.
“We want the priests to be involved with every aspect of the campaign,” he said.
Father Halvorson also praised the generosity of the people who continue to give, even in this down economy.
Lesle Knop, executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development, said exceeding the goal is “very exciting.” She noted there are 60,693 households in the diocese, which translates into about 200,000 Catholics in 110 parishes. This year about one third of those households “made a sacrificial gift to Call To Share,” she said.
“I am inspired by the generosity of our people. It is a reflection of the leadership of the pastors,” she added.
On average, 60 percent of the parishes exceed their goals. If a parish exceeds its goal, then 50 percent of those excess funds raised are rebated back to use for predetermined needs in the parish.
“This encourages greater participation. And the joy of participating in helping your parish and your archdiocese is important,” Knop said.
Knop also added that the archdiocese focuses on keeping the cost of fundraising low. Accountability is important, as each ministry is reviewed annually by the archdiocese to ensure the funds are being used efficiently and effectively.
Because of the poor economy, the decision was made to keep the 2011 goal the same as 2010 — $4.2 million. As of April 15, the total pledged was $4,900,750, or 118 percent of target goal. Knop said the participation rate was 34 percent, and the average gift was $245.
Knop also noted that last year 97 percent of all pledges was fulfilled.
“It is very unusual for this to happen,” she noted. “People here are faithful to their gift.”
An individual can become a Patron of the Crosier Society and join the archbishop at a special Mass by giving one percent of his or her annual income or $1,000. There are currently 1,400 families in the Crosier Society. Donors can also become a Benefactor by donating $2,000; a Steward for $5,000; a Guarantor for $10,000; and a member of the Archbishop’s Circle for $25,000.
“I’m very grateful to all who give. It’s not the money, it is what the money allows us to accomplish,” said Knop. “My money, combined with your money, makes this happen.”
“Archbishop Joseph Naumann has emphasized that this is all about being disciples,” she added. “Nothing we have is ours.
“It is all a gift from God.”