FALL RIVER, Mass. — Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., asked faithful across the Diocese of Fall River to imagine abundance and they responded, heeding the call to “Feed the Hungry, Shelter the Homeless and Comfort the Sorrowful In His Name.” The simple declarative: “It’s what we do,” was borne out in a record-setting degree of generosity for the 2015 Catholic Charities Appeal.
The books have closed on the 2015 Catholic Charities Appeal for the Diocese of Fall River, and the results were more than $4,526,000.
The total was the highest in the 74-year history of the Appeal. This total exceeded last year’s total by more than $300,000, and surpassed the previous record set in 2013 by more than $200,000.
Although figures for the number of donors in each of the 83 parishes are not yet complete, it appears that more than 32,000 individuals and businesses were moved to support those in need in the diocese. The Appeal proved compelling enough to inspire sacrificial giving once again. “We are enormously grateful for the hard work and week-by-week advocacy that our pastors and parish leaders put into this annual appeal,” said James Campbell diocesan director of the Catholic Charities Appeal Office. “Without their example and the strong message of encouragement from our bishop, we would have far less success.”
The results of the Appeal showed some amazing accomplishments across the diocese. Twenty-eight parishes had double-digit increases over last year’s Appeal total, with seven parishes exceeding 30 percent increases, and two with more than 40 percent. Seventy-five percent of the 83 parishes (62) had increases more than their 2014 total.
“I believe there are several factors that distinguish our Appeal in the mind of our donors,” continued Campbell. “First, there is a genuine respect for the work being done on behalf of the poor by the Diocese of Fall River in meeting the needs of those to whom it ministers through the various agencies and apostolates. Also our pastors are the most important link in connecting Catholic Social Teaching with the imperative to help. Lastly, we are very proud of the sound stewardship which has always been a benchmark of the Appeal.”
Bishop da Cunha, as he reflected on this wonderful result commented that “I am so proud of our priests and the lay leaders in every parish who worked so diligently on behalf of the poor. The response of a great number of people, parishes, and businesses in the Diocese of Fall River to our annual Appeal demonstrates an abiding love of neighbor expressed in thought, word and deed.”
To see Bishop da Cunha’s complete remarks, see the Charities Appeal supplement in this week’s Anchor edition.