This year’s goal for Catholic Arkansas Sharing Appeal is $2 million to support the faith efforts of the Church in Arkansas.
The diocesan annual appeal will kick off in parishes at all Masses Feb. 1-2 with a video/audio homily from Bishop Anthony B. Taylor. Parishioners are encouraged to fill out a pledge card and make a one-time gift or a pledge over the next 10 months by check, credit card or cash.
Each family is asked to pledge 1 percent of their annual gross (pre-tax) income.
This year’s theme is “Love Another as I Have Loved You.”
“These words of Jesus give us insight into the cost of discipleship. It is measured by our love for each other and in our diocese, one of the ways we express this love is by supporting the Catholic Arkansas Sharing Appeal,” Bishop Taylor said in his homily.
In this year’s homily, Bishop Taylor will highlight 15 ministries and programs that are funded by donations to CASA, including free digital subscriptions to Arkansas Catholic, the tribunal which offers marriage annulments for free; and marriage preparation courses through the Family Life Office.
Each parish has a new goal that was set by Bishop Taylor. Donations to CASA were reviewed for the past five years. The lowest and highest amounts for each parish were discarded and the remaining three totals were averaged, said Dianne Brady, diocesan development director. She said the change in how the goals are calculated will mean that some parishes will see their goals increase and some will decrease.
Brady said CASA was only $85,000 short of its goal in 2019. Last year the diocese was able to raise $1,915,000 from 5,683 donors. The average gift was $162.
Programs to be supported by CASA 2020 are:
• Diocesan ministries, $550,000: Diocesan offices, such as the Hispanic Ministry Office, benefit from support to CASA.
• St. John Center renovations, $575,000: The diocese completed its update of Fletcher Hall in 2018 and weatherproofing and painting of the outside of Morris Hall in 2019.
• Parish and mission support, $120,000: The diocese subsidizes the cost of priests and religious serving in mission churches that are financially challenged.
• Youth and campus ministry, $230,000: The Youth and Campus Ministry Office hosts various retreats for junior high to college students.
• Grants to Catholic schools, $100,000: Schools in need can submit grant applications for equipment and materials.
• Grants to faith formation programs, $100,000: Religious education programs can apply for grants for new programs and supplies.
• Seminarian expenses, $75,000: Funds are used to help pay for seminary tuition and living expenses for 26 seminarians.
• Catholic Charities of Arkansas, $100,000: The ministry operates a free medical clinic, prison ministry and two immigration offices among other programs.
• Catholic Adoption Services, $50,000: The adoption office works with dozens of women each year who are considering placing their unborn baby up for adoption.
For more information, call (501) 664-0340 or visit dolr.org/casa.
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