Catholics of the Archdiocese of St. Louis donated more than $5 million in special collections last year — funds that help the Church meet needs in critical areas in the archdiocese and around the world.
The donations were made to the 19 once-a-year collections supporting various local, national and international programs and four one-time collections related to disaster responses. The one-time collections went to Middle East refugee response, $35,728, Hurricane Matthew/Haiti reconstruction, $91,721; local and national flood relief, $327,775; and Louisiana flood relief, $257,306.
Brian Niebrugge, executive director of stewardship and the Annual Catholic Appeal for the archdiocese, said parishioners sometimes find the number of second collections annoying. But he challenges people to change that perspective. "Each second collection is an opportunity to participate, to the extent that you feel called, in a different part of the life and mission of the Church across the world. Which of these collections is most important to you?" Niebrugge asked.
Father James Mason, president-rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, praised the generosity of the people of the archdiocese to the annual Christmas Collection, which benefits the seminary. It "never ceases to amaze me," Father Mason said. "Their gifts feed 113 seminarians three meals a day, pay for the salaries of our professors, keep our campus running smoothly, provide quality retreats and workshops and so much more. Our seminarians depend on this generosity every year, and they are grateful for the tremendous financial and prayerful support they receive from the people of St. Louis. Thank you for helping our future priests discern God's call to the priesthood."
Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn is chairman of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Board of Directors. His agency receives funds from a collection for humanitarian assistance to 130 million people in more than 90 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe and for disaster responses. "I've witnessed CRS' tremendous work among the most vulnerable," Bishop Mansour said. "I have seen firsthand the suffering of Christians and others violently forced from their homes in the Middle East. Witnessing their plight was difficult, but it is heartening to see the compassionate work that CRS continues to do in the midst of chaos."
>> Special collections
Generous Catholics in the archdiocese donated $5,012,635 in various special collections in 2016.
The donations to the once-a-year collections for the calendar year, totaling 4,300,102, included:
• Black and Indian Missions $145,334
• Holy Land $168,956
• Peter's Pence $156,075
• Catholic Communication Campaign $91,773
• Catholic University of America $120,533
• Catholic Campaign for Human Development $143,993
• Latin America Apostolate $258,076
• Catholic Relief Services $242,635
• The Church in Central and Eastern Europe $85,997
• Mission Sunday $274,801
• Missionary Co-op $582,995
• Rice Bowl $83,538
• Regina Cleri $352,497
• Kenrick-Glennon Seminary $549,818
• Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center $344,070
• Religious Retirement $289,833
• Catholic Home Missions $150,552
• Permanent Diaconate $206,392
• Military Services $52,223
Plan your giving: To download a PDF of the Catholic Giving Guide Worksheet from the Office ofStewardship, visit www.stlouisreview.com/bEh