Buffeted by tornadoes and a world-wide pandemic, the 2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries for the Diocese of Nashville finished below its goal, but still managed to raise more than the 2019 appeal.
“I feel good about where we ended,” said Ashley Linville, director of development for the diocese. “We’re a little bit above where we finished last year.”
The 2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal raised a total of $2,751,493, which was 92 percent of the goal of $3,000,064. The total was $39,318 above the amount received in 2019.
“We had a plan when the year started. The appeal was going to look different,” Linville said. “We had a ton of momentum in March. We were ahead of where we were last year. Everything looked good.”
But about that time, the pandemic showed up in force in Tennessee and the rest of the country.
“Once the pandemic hit, we put everything on pause” to meet other needs, Linville said. “Bishop (J. Mark) Spalding wanted to make sure that parish offertories remained strong, and so for about four months that became our focus.”
Collections for all the parishes in the diocese from January to September 2020 were 93 percent of what they were in the same time period a year before, despite the pandemic, said Bill Whalen, chief financial officer of the diocese.
“There are so many generous people” in the diocese, Linville said. “They continue to support the diocese. Some people gave more than they normally do because they knew there were other people who couldn’t give.”
Money raised in the Bishop’s Annual Appeal will support a variety of diocesan ministries, including Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Nashville, Catholic schools, youth ministry, faith formation, vocations efforts, and the education of seminarians and deacon candidates, among others.
“I think it’s really heartwarming to see people step up and help those in need when there is such need,” Linville said. “And this year there’s been a lot of need between the tornadoes and the pandemic and everything else that’s happened.”
Of the 58 churches in the diocese, 45 raised 70 percent or more of their goal, including 19 churches that met or exceeded their goal. Those that met or exceeded their goal include: Church of the Nativity, Spring Hill; St. Catherine Church, Columbia; St. Rose of Lima Church, Murfreesboro; St. Margaret Mary Mission, Alto; St. Henry Church, Nashville; Our Lady of the Lake Church, Hendersonville; St. Cecilia Church, Waynesboro; St. Christopher Church, Dickson; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Tennessee Ridge; St. Gregory Church, Smithville; St. Andrew Church, Sparta; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Dover; Christ the Redeemer Church, Centerville; Divine Savior Mission, Celina; Holy Family Church, Brentwood; St. Mary Myanmar Catholic Community; Mother of Divine Mercy Coptic Catholic Community; Sagrado Corazon Church, Nashville; and St. John the Evangelist Church, Lewisburg.
“We want to say a thank you to all the people who supported it and were so generous,” Linville said. “We as the diocese are so grateful for those who were able to give and for those who weren’t able to give. There were many who would have liked to give but weren’t able to, and we’re thankful to them too.”
The diocese is busy preparing for the kick-off of the 2021 Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 13-14.
“We’ll have information coming out soon,” Linville said.