PROVIDENCE — In spite of the continued challenges faced in running its annual Catholic Charity Appeal, the Diocese of Providence closed its 2021 campaign on June 30 with $6,238,318 in pledges, meeting nearly 92 percent of its $6.8 million goal. As of June 30, the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development has received $5,533,300, 89 percent of the monies pledged.
Last year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic happening early in the Appeal, the diocese closed the 2020 campaign with $5.1 million in pledges, with an average gift of $314, meeting 70 percent of its goal.
Although there was a decline in donors to the Appeal from 2019 to 2020, with about 7,000 donors who contributed in 2019 not doing so in 2020, there has been a rebound this year. In 2021, 19,877 donors contributed to the Appeal, 2,180 more than in 2020, when 17,697 individuals donated.
This year, 89 parishes reached or surpassed 75 percent of their goal, compared to 38 parishes in 2020, while 33 parishes reached or exceeded 100 percent of their goals, compared to six last year.
Launching the 2021 Appeal in January, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin asked those who had donated in the past and welcomed new donors to be as generous as they possibly could, reminding the faithful of Pope Francis’ message that “charity is the high road of the journey of faith.”
At the conclusion of the campaign, the bishop expressed his gratitude to all who contributed to and worked to promote the importance of the Catholic Charity Appeal to the diocese’s outreach programs.
“Despite many challenges, the faithful of the Diocese have once again been very generous, and we are most grateful,” Bishop Thomas J. Tobin told Rhode Island Catholic.
“I’m convinced that people support the Appeal because they recognize the good and important work the Church does year-round in serving others. Our pastors too should be commended for the very strong leadership they have provided for the Appeal.”
The Catholic Charity Appeal is the principal means of financial support for numerous diocesan outreach programs, including its healthcare ministry — which purchased personal protective equipment to outfit some three dozen priests who served as hospital chaplains at the height of COVID-19 hospitalizations — as well as its nursing homes, Emmanuel House men’s overnight shelter, St. Martin de Porres Senior Center and Special Religious Education Program.
“It’s been impressive to see the generosity of people rebounding from such a difficult year, and the participation of the donors, pastors and volunteers. All had a hand in the diocese being successful this year in reaching more than 90 percent of its goal,” said Tim McCaig, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development.
“As much as we’d like to be at 100 percent, it’s very generous of the people of the diocese to respond the way they did.”
McCaig said he was pleased with the success of the Appeal in light of the circumstances, especially with the impact of the pandemic running deep into this year’s campaign, as well as the uncertainties in the job market as the nation has begun to emerge from it.
Mass attendance restrictions also limited the number of parishioners taking part in what has historically been the strongest aspect of the annual campaigns — the in-pew solicitation component.
“Many of our donors responded through the mail,” he said. “We saw an increase in responses in direct mail and a decrease in response from the in-pew solicitation.
McCaig sees this year’s results as a sign that the Appeal has rebounded to a new normal.
“We’ve returned to some level of normalcy as we’ve navigated the changes in Mass restrictions. Our donors have responded and our pastors have led the way and our volunteers supported us to implement the program. We’re extremely grateful for their participation and we’re looking forward to next year’s campaign.”