Friday, February 6, 2015

Some Thoughts about the Annual "House of Charity" Appeal

Dear Parishioners,

It is once again that time of year when our bishop, as spiritual leader of the Diocese of Camden, makes an appeal for our help with the various ministries and programs of the diocese.  The operation of a diocese is very much like the operation of a parish, only on a much larger scale.  Essentially, we—as a parish or as a diocese—can only do the things that our financial means allow.  We depend on the generosity of our parishioners to support both.

The House of Charity-Bishop's Annual Appeal has been made in the Diocese of Camden since 1964—for 51 years now!  So it should come as no surprise to any of us.  Since we know that this appeal will be made annually, I ask that each of our parishioners/families prepares or budgets for it.  Again, it should come as no surprise, like an emergency collection would be after some natural disaster.

There are those among us whose financial means allow them to make a most generous gift.  I am extremely grateful for what they can do.  However, so many of our financial resources often come from the sacrificial giving of the average parishioner or family.  Remember the story of the widow’s mite (See Mk. 12:41-44 or Lk. 21:1-4)— the two small copper coins—from the Gospels?  Jesus praised her sacrificial giving even though it seemed miniscule in the eyes of many. 

Let me break this situation down a bit.  If I put aside less than $10.00 per month, I could easily make a $100.00 contribution annually.  Many of us probably could do substantially more, if it were truly sacrificial giving.  The average gift within the diocese is actually about $320.00.

On the weekend of February 14-15 we will show the 2015 House of Charity video at Mass, followed by an “in pew” solicitation.  Please help us by preparing ahead of time for this appeal.  You can make an outright gift or make a pledge which can be completed over time.  We would like you to do this on that particular weekend to save us time and money by having to send out additional letters or to make additional phone calls.  Please think and pray about this appeal and I request that you make a decision ahead of time.

There is a saying that all politics is local.  How do we benefit as a parish from this appeal?  Please be aware that the hospital chaplain for Shore Medical Center who lives at our rectory and celebrates Mass for our parish is paid entirely through the House of Charity.  Moreover, if we reach this year’s goal, we will receive 10% of what is collected for use in our parish.

So, on behalf of our diocese and our bishop, I humbly ask for your assistance with this appeal.  As my parishioners, you know that I infrequently ask for money.  I am generally uncomfortable with this task.  However, there are many who will undoubtedly benefit from our financial gifts and sacrifices and I appeal to your generosity on their behalf.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan

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