The Annual Catholic Appeal set a record for the most ever raised, exceeding $15.9 million in donations and pledges. With estate gifts and anticipated matching gifts, the appeal raised more than $16.4 million.
“God calls on us to be stewards of His divine will, and through the help of our volunteers, pastors and donors, thousands in our community will find help and peace through the ministries of the Church,” said Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski. “Your gifts are a powerful sign that we hear God’s calling and respond with one voice, ‘Thy Will Be Done.’ I am grateful for your support.”
Marsha Stocker, chair of the 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal, said, “Your incredible generosity impacts the lives of those in need in so many ways and gives witness to the unity of our faith. Even in the midst of a pandemic, and changes in church attendance, our donors continued to generously share their gifts. We were blessed to exceed our goal, and therefore give additional support to so many people in need.”
St. Patrick Center outreach
The Annual Catholic Appeal recently awarded a special $75,000 grant to Camp Cole, St. Patrick Center’s temporary housing community that provides improved safety and health conditions for homeless people in St. Louis. An anonymous donor added $35,000. St. Patrick Center is an agency of Catholic Charities of St. Louis, which already is a recipient of Annual Catholic Appeal funding for its programming.
The indoor camp set up with tents in a warehouse is a 90-day solution to the trash-strewn and unwieldy encampment formed in Interco Plaza in Downtown St. Louis, adjacent to the St. Patrick Center. Camp Cole typically houses 38 people and provides safer and healthier conditions for the community. St. Patrick Center staff provides on-site support and resources, including food and water, electricity, sanitation services and hygiene facilities. It opened Aug. 2
A resident of Camp Cole has been housed through the Tiny Houses Project, which has placed tiny homes — each measuring 14 by 26 feet — on a lot in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood of north St. Louis. The project is the effort of several groups, including North Grand Neighborhood Services, Rockwood School District and Social Justice 4 All.
Twenty-five people at Camp Cole are on a path to permanent housing; four people have gained employment since coming to the temporary St. Patrick Center facility.
Anthony, D’Agostino, chief executive officer of St. Patrick Center, pointed out the importance of the Annual Catholic Appeal grant: “The support and the success of Camp Cole affirms our mission to transform lives through sustainable housing, employment and health care, following the compassion of Jesus.”
While Camp Cole is only temporary, D’Agostino said, “we hope it serves as a model for more permanent collaborative solutions that will offer dignity, protection, empowerment and hope to our unhoused neighbors.”
Rosati-Kain High School in St. Louis is among the archdiocesan and parochial high schools supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal with $1.4 million in grants. Rosati-Kain has provided generations of girls an education rooted in the Catholic faith, focused on the success of each one in college and beyond.
Elizabeth Ann Goodwin, president of the high school, said the Annual Catholic Appeal donations “make possible a quality Catholic high school education for our students — from added experiences to extracurriculars and tuition assistance. Families today are having to make more sacrifices in order to be able to attend Catholic schools. We are grateful that the Annual Catholic Appeal is available to assist us in providing more resources, so that we can create a truly unique Rosati experience for our families.”
Ava Buckley Wilson, a senior at Rosati-Kain, said she enjoys the diversity and different perspectives provided at the school. Teachers provide the tools needed to succeed because “they try to understand how you learn and apply that into the curriculum,” she said.
Rosati-Kain also helps her grow stronger in her Catholic faith, she said, stressing Catholic teachings while also providing an insight to other religions and people.
Respect Life Apostolate
The Annual Catholic Appeal also supports the ongoing ministries of the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate. The apostolate is included in the $570,000 allocated this year toward respect life, and family and social responsibility efforts in the archdiocese.
The apostolate recently hired Amy Kosta as program coordinator of the Our Lady of Guadalupe convent, which provides a place of hospitality and prayer for people peacefully witnessing to life at Missouri’s last abortion clinic, located in St. Louis. Opportunities at the convent have expanded since it opened in 2017, including regular times for eucharistic adoration, Mass and lunch with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, who reside at the convent.
ACA funding also has supported several paid summer internships with the Respect Apostolate. Interns participated in educational work, said RLA director Cynthia Haehnel, including a visit to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri, and the Missouri Catholic Conference; a visit to local pregnancy resource centers; helping load donations to be sent to help migrants at the U.S./Mexican border; and assisting with the monthly Helpers of God’s Precious Infants Mass and at the Our Lady of Guadalupe convent.
“I think it’s one of the best uses (of ACA funding) because how do we reach young people than by getting them excited about life” issues, said Haehnel.
>> 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal by the numbers
$15,902,416 raised through pledges and donations
38,907 households participated
129 parishes exceeded their financial goal
88 parishes improved participation
85 parishes achieved new-donor goals
81 parishes reached their challenge goals
Learn more at aca.archstl.org