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EDITORIAL | Another successful Annual Catholic Appeal is proof positive that Catholics in St. Louis shine in generosity

2019 appeal exceeds goal, raising $15.3 million in pledges and gifts

The generous support of the Annual Catholic Appeal is proof positive that Catholics in the archdiocese ascribe to the phrase, “I Believe,” the theme of this year’s successful appeal.

This year, the appeal raised $15.3 million from pledges and gifts for the immediate needs of the local Church’s ministries. Funding goes toward helping people living in poverty, pro-life and social justice issues, Catholic education and more. With estate gifts and anticipated matching gifts, the appeal total is expected to exceed $15.7 million.

Among the agencies and programs funded by the appeal are the Rural Parish Clinic, which provides health care to the poor and uninsured in Washington County; a renewed Catholic Deaf Ministry; Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent, which offers a place of prayer and hospitality for those who witness outside an abortion clinic; Catholic education; and more.

Heather Thomas, the parent of a kindergarten student at St. Ann School in Normandy, shared her thanks to donors for helping her child to attend a school that will allow her to reach her full potential. Thomas is a single parent who works as an administrative assistant to the Northwoods police chief. Her grandfather offered to pay for half the tuition at St. Ann, but he died a month ago, leaving Thomas in a bind.

The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, which is slated to receive $100,000 from the appeal, came through with a scholarship for the family. The foundation is one of eight areas of education funded by the Annual Catholic Appeal, including elementary school assistance, archdiocesan high schools, parochial high schools, special education and more.

The Rural Parish Clinic, operated by employees of Catholic Charities of St. Louis and Queen of Peace Center, in collaboration with the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King, began seeing patients in May. The clinic fills a need — offering preventative care such as annual physicals, treatment for chronic illnesses, acute care for minor illnesses, injuries and infections, as well as gynecological and psychiatric services — in an area where those services are sorely needed.

Chip and Brandy Hawkins, who have visited the clinic several times, said how much they appreciate the one-on-one care they’ve received so far.

“I’m smiling when I leave,” Chip Hawkins said. “It might be the moral support, or just the way they talk to you.”

Those who give to the Annual Catholic Appeal understand the direct impact of their contributions. They also take to heart the importance of the three primary elements of stewardship: prayer, participation and generosity. Being good stewards of their resources is a recognition that everything we have is a gift from God.

“Together, we proclaim I Believe through your gifts, leadership and time volunteered,” said Chris Archer, chairman of the 2019 appeal. “Thank you to all those who made supporting the appeal a priority in their lives this year! The generosity of so many is inspiring to behold!”

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