SASKATOON — The Bishop’s Annual Appeal has reached its 2014 goal of $1.5 million, raising $1,515,776 for ministries, programs and outreach in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
Donations by parishioners to the appeal support such ministries as Catholic hospital chaplaincy, education of laity for ministry, the Lay Formation program, deaf ministry, the Liturgy Commission, the Marriage and Family Life office, Aboriginal parish ministry, the Office of Justice and Peace, Catholic prison ministry, Christian Initiation and Catechetics (including RCIA and sacramental preparation for children), youth and young adult ministry, vocations promotion, the education of priests and future priests, diocesan communications, the Foundations: Exploring Our Faith Together program, and the Msgr. Michael J. Koch Resource Library, as well as the diocesan Ecumenical Commission, and partner organizations, including Catholic Family Services, the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism and the Saskatoon Friendship Inn.
The final report for BAA 2014 was presented Jan. 20 at a dinner for volunteers and parish leaders at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, with information provided about five-year trends, as well as appeal results from the 94 parishes in the diocese’s six deaneries.
Thirty-two parishes exceeded their individual parish goals this year — including 23 rural parishes and nine within the city of Saskatoon, reported Cathy Gilje of the BAA office of the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation.
Gilje and BAA co-ordinator Cathie Rogers both stressed the vital role of parish volunteers, pastors and parish leadership in the appeal, as did Bishop Donald Bolen.
“Thanks to yourselves and your very hard work, we achieved our goal this year, and it is tremendous good news,” Bolen told the parish representatives, describing the BAA as a lifeline for ministry in the diocese.
“This is good news for all the ministries in the diocese that are funded by the appeal, and it is good news for the many people that are served through the appeal,” he added, describing the BAA as “a work of evangelization that helps the church to function.”
About $180,000 will be shared among parishes that exceeded their individual parish goals, part of a parish sharing incentive program. In the Humboldt Deanery, another $16,600 will go to St. Peter’s College, as part of a special arrangement this year for a portion of money raised through the BAA to go toward the ongoing capital campaign at the Catholic college in Muenster — an initiative that will continue for the next four years.
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal was originally established some 30 years ago by Bishop James Mahoney to support ministry, programs and outreach in the diocese. Five-year trends show that the rate of participation in the BAA has increased slightly: from 35.9 per cent in 2010 to 36.2 per cent in 2014. The average gift size has increased about 16.7 per cent, from $214 to $250.