Catholics gave a record amount to this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal, supporting important ministries across the archdiocese.
This year, the appeal raised $16.8 million from pledges and other sources. Including estate gifts and anticipated matching gifts, the total exceeds $17.1 million. The goal was $15 million.
According to data from the ACA, nearly 37,000 households participated, 129 parishes exceeded fundraising goals and 82 parishes reached their challenge goals. Also, 69 parishes achieved their goals for new donors, and 54 parishes improved participation.
“Thanks to the prayers and generosity of our volunteers, pastors, and donors, thousands of our brothers and sisters will find hope and healing through the ministries supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal,” Archbishop Mitchell T.
Rozanski said. “When we answer God’s call to share His gifts with those most in need, we grow closer both to Him and to them, united as one family, Brothers and Sisters All.”
The ACA is an important tool for evangelization in the archdiocese, uniting Catholics in the work of bringing Christ to all, said Brian Niebrugge, executive director of the Annual Catholic Appeal.
“The Church is the Body of Christ, but it can be invisible to the world,” he said. “What the appeal does is take the invisible mystical Body of Christ and make it visible to the world in a way they understand. So, it helps evangelize people and help people understand what the Church is and what it does here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.”
At Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Ferguson, parish participation increased by 6 percentage points this year. Parish chair Gerry Bucher grew up watching his father go door-knocking for ACA
contributions, and he’s glad to continue the legacy of service.
“We’re a small parish, but we have a very generous community,” Bucher said.
The ACA has now raised more than $500 million since its inception in 1954.
“It’s a privilege to serve the Annual Catholic Appeal, because we’re serving the mission of the Church,” said Dr. Michael Conoyer, this year’s ACA chairman.
The ACA directly supports programs across Catholic education, ministries promoting human dignity and social responsibility, and missionary discipleship and leadership efforts. For a detailed list of ACA-supported programs, visit archstl.org/annual-catholic-appeal/ programs-we-support.
Addressing homelessness in Lincoln County
A sum of $50,000 from the extra funds raised by the ACA will support the Lincoln County Housing Task Force.
The task force was formed in the summer of 2021 to address rising homelessness in Lincoln and surrounding counties. The group is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and composed of members from Sacred Heart Parish in Troy, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, the Lincoln County Health Department, Lincoln County Resource Board and other civic and faith organizations.
Sacred Heart Parish and its St. Vincent de Paul conference have seen the need for housing firsthand, said pastor Father Mike Lydon. Last year, the St. Vincent de Paul conference gave out $73,000 for temporary hotel stays and utility costs; currently, the conference is getting requests for temporary housing assistance from three to five families or individuals every week.
“I see folks every Saturday, and we really feel their need,” said Chris Schieffer, president of Sacred Heart’s St. Vincent de Paul Society and a member of the task force. “To be awarded this money from the ACA affirms that we’re going in the right direction and we’re doing the right thing.”
The task force’s first priority is opening an emergency shelter/crisis stabilization center for men, women and families called Bridge of Hope. The Lincoln County Commission has donated property in the Troy area and agreed to construct a 5,000-square-foot building to serve as the center, which it will loan to Bridge of Hope for $1 per year. The city of Troy will help furnish the building.
The ACA funds will go toward other startup costs for Bridge of Hope, including hiring staff. Initially, Bridge of Hope will offer emergency shelter, services including laundry facilities and computer access, and connections to further resources, with hopes to expand wraparound services and case management.
Pam Struckhoff, executive director of Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service and a member of the task force, said the care service’s street outreach program sees several homeless individuals in Lincoln County with few options for shelter in the area. Because Lincoln County is mostly rural, accessing social services can also be difficult. She said that Bridge of Hope will fill that need for emergency shelter and other resources in one central place.
“It’s going to make a huge difference to those people who just don’t have any hope,” Struckhoff said.
The task force aims to break ground on Bridge of Hope in January with plans to open in fall 2023.
Expanding African ministry
A ministry to serve Catholic immigrants from Africa at St. Norbert Parish will receive $55,000 from the ACA’s overage funds.
St. Norbert pastor Father Peter Faimega, a native of Tor Donga, Nigeria, had discovered that African immigrants were having trouble finding a sense of community and missed the special cultural aspects of their faith, particularly through the celebration of Mass. Read more at stlreview.com/3dd25bs.
“I wanted to let them know that the Catholic Church is welcoming, and I want them to have a sense of belonging,” Father Faimega said.
Father Faimega connected with the St. Louis International African Catholic Community to offer St. Norbert as a home for African ministry, which previously was based at Holy Trinity Parish in St. Ann. An official kickoff was held Sept. 4, with Mass celebrated in Swahili. The 12:30 p.m. Sunday Mass will rotate in theme each week and include a Mass celebrated in French on the second Sunday, a Gospel Mass on the third Sunday, and a Unity Mass on the fourth Sunday.
The ACA funds will allow the ministry to hire an outreach coordinator to help connect recent immigrants with the Catholic community and resources and services to help them settle in St. Louis.
Helping Catholic Charities reach every corner
Catholic Charities of St. Louis
will benefit from the ACA’s overage funds, receiving an additional $150,000. The funds will help Catholic Charities launch a “parish navigator” pilot program, which will place Catholic Charities “navigators” in parishes to work with pastors in finding and addressing the social services needs of the community.
Parish navigators will help connect people in the community with Catholic Charities’ existing agencies and services, like emergency housing for someone in need or Saint Louis Counseling mental health services at a parish school. They will also help provide educational opportunities on Catholic social teaching issues.
Placing trained navigators in parishes across the archdiocese is another step to ensuring Catholic Charities services reach people in need across all 11 counties, said Catholic Charities President Jared Bryson.
“We are the social outreach arm of the Catholic Church, not just in the city or St. Louis County — we exist wherever the Church exists,” Bryson said.
Navigators will also work alongside the volunteer parish ambassadors already present in many parishes. The pilot program will begin by employing two parish navigators with plans to expand in the coming years.
Catholic Charities also plans to use some of the additional ACA funding to hire a director of pastoral care to implement a pastoral care program reaching people at all agencies and the Language. Access. Multicultural. People. (LAMP) program.
>> WHO THE ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL HELPS
HUMAN DIGNITY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Catholic Charities $1,500,000
Respect Life, Family and Social Responsibility $450,000
Regina Cleri Priests Retirement Home $418,000
Hispanic Ministry $200,000
Office of Peace and Justice $140,000
Rural Parish Clinic $125,000
Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service $125,000
Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent $100,000
Criminal Justice Ministry $85,000
Office of Racial Harmony $65,000
Parish Food Pantries $50,000
Immigrant and Refugee Support $40,000
Archbishop’s Charity Fund $30,000
Peter and Paul Community Services, Shelter at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish $15,000
Elementary School Assistance $2,000,000
Archdiocesan and Parochial High Schools $1,410,000
Continuing Formation for Priests $440,000
Special Education $300,000
Newman Centers on College Campuses $267,000
Today and Tomorrow Educational Fund $150,000
Permanent Diaconate $100,000
One Classroom $20,000
Care for Active and Retired Priests $860,000
Adult Faith Formation $335,000
Catholic Deaf Ministry $110,000
St. Charles Lwanga Center $100,000
Catholic St. Louis Magazine $80,000
Catholic Renewal Center $60,000
Basilica of St. Louis, King of France $50,000
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis $50,000
Rural Parish Workers $50,000
Messengers of Peace Mission Work $25,000
CULTURE OF LEADERSHIP
Archdiocesan Seminary $525,000
Evangelization and Discipleship $425,000
Stewardship and Development Support for Parishes, Schools and Agencies $400,000
Vocation Programs $380,000
Natural Family Planning $210,000
Religious Formation $200,000
Parish Emergency Assistance Fund $100,000
Elementary Teachers Educational Fund $75,000
High School Stewardship Essay Program $55,000
Office of Youth Ministry $20,000
Support for Religious Orders $10,000
Annual Catholic Appeal Expenses $1,500,000
Reserve for Unpaid Pledges $900,000
Archdiocesan Services $450,000
* None of the money raised by the Annual Catholic Appeal is used to defend or settle criminal or civil lawsuits related to the clergy abuse scandal.