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EDITORIAL | Despite the hardships of a pandemic, Catholics express their generosity through another successful Annual Catholic Appeal

Success of Annual Catholic Appeal shows the generosity of the local Church despite hardships that come in a pandemic

In the midst of a global pandemic — with much uncertainty and suffering — Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis once again showed their generosity with another successful Annual Catholic Appeal.

This year, the appeal raised more than $15 million from pledges and gifts. Funding goes toward efforts to help people living in poverty, life and social justice issues, Catholic education and more. Including estate gifts, anticipated matching gifts, and other gifts, the total is expected to exceed $16.1 million.

Nearly 40,000 households participated, 123 parishes exceeded fund-raising goals and 57 parishes reached their challenge goals. Also, 45 parishes achieved their goals for new donors, and 28 parishes improved participation. Even with the pinch of a pandemic being felt by many, Catholics who were able to give realized they needed to do so for those who could not.

“While some of our brothers and sisters may not have been able to give as much to the ACA this year as they did in years past, the results of this year’s campaign show that those who could give a little more stepped up for those who could not,” Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski said. “Now we are seeing that generosity put to work in service of those who are suffering because of the pandemic. The Archdiocese of St. Louis is a strong faith community filled with people who are helping to further the mission of God’s Church, and sharing moments of hope with others who need it most, even in their own times of trial.”

Those statistics are proof positive of the ongoing generosity of the local Church. Their giving ties in beautifully with this year’s theme, “Because We Are Catholic.” Many of those served by the very agencies and offices supported by the ACA are not Catholic. God has given us an opportunity to bring a message of hope, courage and faith to others through our giving. We give, quite simply, because we are Catholic.

The long-term success of the Annual Catholic Appeal helps to sustain ministries and services throughout St. Louis and 10 surrounding counties. Our reach is extensive, our Catholic devotion runs deep, and our readiness to live the Gospel is strong.

This week’s edition highlights the results of this year’s campaign, along with real-time stories of agencies and offices that have worked overtime to continue to provide services during the pandemic. Saint Martha’s Hall, a Catholic Charities agency that helps women who have been abused and their children, had to shift how it conducts its ministry, in an effort to adhere to local health and safety guidelines. Others shifted to providing services virtually, including through teletherapy.

Catholic education also continued to thrive, with the guidance of the Office of Catholic Education and Formation. The office worked with schools to provide guidelines and resources for a successful transition back to school. The ACA also provided a direct grant to purchase masks, hand sanitizer and surface sanitizer for parishes.

This generosity shows that Catholics are called by Jesus’ Gospel message to give and to serve others. Their generosity is a way of life, rooted in the knowledge that everything we have is a gift from God.

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