Catholics exceeded the archdiocesan Annual Catholic Appeal goal once again this year, supporting important ministries across the archdiocese.
The appeal raised $16.7 million from pledges and other sources. Including estate gifts and anticipated matching gifts, the total exceeds $16.9 million. The goal was $15.5 million.
According to data from the ACA, more than 33,500 households participated, 113 parishes exceeded their financial goals and 48 parishes reached their challenge goals. Also, 48 parishes achieved their goals for new donors and 33 parishes improved participation.
“I am grateful to God and to all our selfless volunteers, clergy, and the many generous parishioners and families who have made the 2023 appeal a success. All who contributed or who prayed for the appeal can see that they are united in serving others and in serving the Church,” Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski said. “Many of the people that will benefit from this generosity may not even know that they are going to be facing a personal crisis, but we are ready to respond to their need. When we reach out in love, we can help our neighbors to experience the mercy and compassion of Christ, our Lord.”
Ascension Parish in Chesterfield gave the highest amount of any parish, raising $909,105. St. Wenceslaus Parish in south St. Louis recorded 100% parishioner participation in this year’s appeal, while St. John the Beloved Disciple in Imperial, St. Catherine of Alexandria in Coffman, Our Lady of the Holy Cross in Baden and St. Maurus in Biehle all achieved more than 70% participation.
Amid uncertainty around the archdiocese surrounding the All Things New announcements, ACA chair Christine Eilerman was moved by the continued commitment of the faithful to the ministries supported by the ACA.
“My takeaway has been just how overwhelmingly and sincerely generous the people of the Archdiocese of St. Louis continue to be again and again, regardless of maybe the personal turmoil or what’s been going on parish by parish,” Eilerman said. “People could really see that the needs in St. Louis continue to grow, and that the agencies are doing fantastic work.”
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/
Funding affordable housing
Of the funds raised, $1 million will be set aside for affordable housing initiatives around the archdiocese, said Brian Niebrugge, executive director of the Annual Catholic Appeal.
“It’s in recognition of the reality that affordable housing is a significant crisis facing St. Louis, and that the Church needs to have a role in helping to address that…not just in the city, but across the region,” Niebrugge said. “It’s one of those core things that if we could address it in an effective way, using Gospel principles and love instead of just government programs, I think it’s a way to help strengthen our region.”
Some of that money will go to the Oikos group’s Hearts, Hands and Homes, an ecumenical initiative aiming to raise $3-6 million by the end of the year for six organizations that work to increase access to affordable housing in the St. Louis area.
After the initiative’s launch on April 19, $1.8 million in funds already raised was distributed evenly between the six organizations. The six include St. Joseph Housing Initiative, which converts vacant houses into homes for low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers; and Catholic Charities’ Pathways to Progress program, which provides long-term, wrap-around case management and support services to members, working to empower families toward stability and sustainable economic independence.
That initial funding was instrumental in St. Joseph Housing Initiative’s recent purchase of its first three homes in the Baden neighborhood of north St. Louis, expanding its reach out of the Dutchtown/Carondelet area.
Pathways to Progress was able to hire additional member advisers (case managers) for its north city location, with plans to expand into south city in the coming months. Collaboration among the six Hearts, Hands and Homes organizations has also improved their collective ability to serve people with housing needs, said Brian Thouvenot, chief community officer at Catholic Charities of St. Louis.
The ACA funds will also support affordable housing initiatives in the works at Catholic Charities, and others as needs arise, Niebrugge said.
Bridge of Hope
Bridge of Hope Lincoln County was a new recipient of ACA funding in 2023, receiving $50,000 toward its new emergency shelter and crisis center in Troy. The shelter, under construction on grounds near the Lincoln County Health Department, will provide short-term housing for men, women and families while connecting them with case managers to navigate next steps. The facility will also include a day-service space with access to the internet, laundry, showers, meals and more resources, as well as a large gathering space to host classes, trainings and meetings.
Archbishop Rozanski blessed the shelter site at a groundbreaking on June 28.
“We acknowledge the compassion and dedication that has led to the creation of this center, where individuals in need will find shelter, support and a renewed sense of hope,” Archbishop Rozanski said. “May this place be a testimony to the power of faith, love and unity in serving others. Bless this space, and may it inspire all of us to contribute our time, talent and resources to better serve our brothers and sisters in need.”
Through a partnership with Catholic Charities of St. Louis, Bridge of Hope recently hired its first executive director, Dan Colbert. The organization plans to open the shelter in January 2024.
The task force that became Bridge of Hope was formed in the summer of 2021 to address rising homelessness in Lincoln and surrounding counties. Former Sacred Heart pastor Father Michael Lydon, now episcopal vicar for the Southern Vicariate, was a founding member of the board, alongside other Sacred Heart parishioners and members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal
SERVING OUR PARISHES DIRECTLY
Elementary School Assistance $2,000,000
Stewardship and Development Support for Parishes, Schools and Agencies $425,000
Office of Peace and Justice $140,000
Parish Emergency Assistance Fund $100,000
Basilica of St. Louis, King of France $50,000
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis $50,000
Parish Food Pantries $50,000
SERVING OUR YOUTH
Archdiocesan and Parochial High Schools $1,416,000
Archdiocesan Seminary $525,000
Vocation Programs $380,000
Special Education $300,000
Newman Centers on College Campuses $262,000
Religious Formation $200,000
Today and Tomorrow Educational Fund $150,000
One Classroom $110,000
High School Stewardship Essay Program $55,000
Office of Youth Ministry $40,000
SERVING THE PEOPLE IN OUR PARISHES
Respect Life Apostolate $450,000
Evangelization and Discipleship $425,000
Adult Faith Formation $370,000
Natural Family Planning $220,000
Hispanic Ministry $200,000
Office of Racial Harmony $120,000
Catholic Deaf Ministry $110,000
St. Charles Lwanga Center $100,000
Catholic St. Louis Magazine $80,000
Catholic Renewal Center $77,000
Elementary Teachers Educational Fund $75,000
SERVING THOSE IN NEED
Catholic Charities $1,650,000
Rural Parish Clinic $300,000
Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service $125,000
Criminal Justice Ministry $100,000
Bridge of Hope/Lincoln County Housing Initiative $50,000
Archbishop’s Charity Fund $30,000
Messengers of Peace Mission Work $25,000
Meals Program and Sts. Peter and Paul Church $15,000
SERVING THOSE WHO SERVE US
Care for Active and Retired Priests $880,000
Continuing Formation for Priests $430,000
Regina Cleri Priests Retirement Home $350,000
Permanent Diaconate $150,000
Support for Religious Orders $20,000
Annual Catholic Appeal Expenses $1,500,000
Reserve for Unpaid Pledges $930,000
Archdiocesan Services $465,000
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.