by Reagan Scott
LINCOLN (SNR) - On Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, churchgoers in the Diocese of Lincoln will be able to pick up their pledge cards for the diocese’s 48th annual Charity and Stewardship Appeal, for the parishes and ministries of the entire diocese.
The appeal is designed so that the majority of money raised is returned to the parishes in the diocese, while covering the costs of the appeal. This year, the goal is $2.1 million. Sixty-seven percent of that total, and anything over the $2.1 million mark will go directly back to the parishes.
In addition to parish and administrative categories, the Charity and Stewardship Appeal allocates funds to other categories: “Proclaiming God’s Word,” which includes ministries such as the Family Life Office and Youth Ministry, “Works of Mercy” such as the diocese’s ministry to prisons, hospitals and nursing homes, and “Diocesan Ministries” such as the diocesan tribunal and religious sisters’ retirement.
The theme of this year’s Charity and Stewardship Appeal is “Stewardship: Cultivating Love in Deed and Truth,” which comes from the second reading on the first Sunday of the appeal, “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
Father Eric Clark, the director of the Charity and Stewardship Appeal, said that Bishop Conley wants to further cultivate stewardship in the diocese.
“In the Lincoln Diocese in southern Nebraska we have a special sense of what it means to cultivate the earth and to bring forth the fruits of the land by labor, prudent care and common stewardship,” Bishop Conley said in a letter to the diocese.
Last year’s appeal had a participation rate of 42 percent, which Father Clark said is a high number, given the number of registered parishioners’ attendance at Mass each week.
Each parish has its own fundraising goal based on average parish income, and the amount that each parish receives back is based on the number of schools that it supports. Parishes that support one school receive 40 percent of the money donated by parishioners.
Parishes that have two schools to support receive 80 percent of the money raised. If a parish collects more than its allotted goal, 100 percent of those funds are returned.
In 2017, parishes received more than $2.1 million in returns or, 75 percent of campaign proceeds. Over the last five years, parishes have received $10.9 million.
Over the next few weeks, Father Clark will travel with the bishop to regional meetings across the diocese, to present information about the Charity and Stewardship Appeal to priests and the lay directors from each parish.
He said, “A pastor is the number-one instrument to help the campaign run smoothly and to preach about it.”
In addition to sharing information on the appeal, a letter from Bishop Conley will be read at every Mass, or the parish may play the video from this year’s appeal.
In his letter, Bishop Conley states, “This year, I ask everyone to cultivate love in deed and truth by generously supporting the Charity and Stewardship Appeal. When we do this in faith we grow in our great dignity of being called stewards of the Lord and we cultivate the mission of His Church together, through the bond of love.”