Bishop’s Annual Appeal sets record goal of $3 million

In the last two years, the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries has reached unprecedented highs. And in 2020, the Diocese of Nashville hopes to reach even higher.

The 2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries was launched the weekend of Feb. 8-9, and the goal this year is to raise $3 million – the highest goal ever – to fund a wide swath of ministries, from educating seminarians and deacon candidates to serving the marginalized through the programs of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, to forming adults and children in the faith.

“It helps us fulfill our mission of Living and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, welcoming all,” said Ashley Linville, stewardship director for the diocese.

“The role we play in the world, as Catholics and followers of Jesus Christ, has never been more critical,” Bishop J. Mark Spalding wrote in a letter to kick off the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. “This appeal is vital because it helps fund everything from campus ministry to youth programs, adult formation, seminarian education and Catholic Charities. Your gift to this appeal quite literally feeds the hungry, gives shelter to the homeless and gives hope to those who need it most. …

“Your gift will make a real impact in a world that desperately needs great Catholic priests, well-formed Catholic youth and Catholic families who lead by example,” the bishop wrote.

The goal for this year’s Appeal is an increase from previous years. In 2018, the diocese surpassed its goal of $2.5 million by raising $2.6 million. Last year, the goal was $2,700,411.09 and the diocese raised $2,712,175.70 in pledges and donations.

The Appeal also has a goal for the number of donors: 7,825.

Although the diocese will accept pledges and gifts through the year, Linville said, the diocese hopes to reach the goal much sooner than that.

“We know people like to make their gift at the end of the year,” Linville said. “We don’t want to discourage that. But we would like to encourage them to make a pledge early.”

The diocese will followup on any pledges, which count toward the diocesan goal and the goals for individual parishes when they are made, Linville said.

“That will help us wrap up the campaign early,” he said.

Pledge cards have already been mailed to parishioners and distributed through parishes, Linville said. People can mail the cards with their pledge or gift directly to the diocese or put them in the collection basket during Mass at their parish, he said.

Donors can also make a gift online by visiting the diocesan website at www.dioceseofnashville.com, Linville said. They can also make a gift by texting the word “bishop” to 31996, he added. “That will give them a link and when they click on that link it takes them right to the giving page.”

People’s gifts can take several forms, Linville said. They can make a pledge, a one-time gift, or a monthly gift. If they give online, they can set up an automatic recurring gift, he said.

Gifts can be pledges, cash or through a credit card, Linville said. “Every gift counts, no matter the amount,” he said.

Each parish has its goal, and every gift from its parishioners are credited toward the parish. 

In the Bishop’s Annual Appeal in 2019, 33 churches – or 56 percent – met or exceeded their goal. Four raised more than 90 percent of the goal, 13 were at 80-89 percent of their goal, six were between 70 and 79 percent of goal. No church was below 62 percent.

All the diocesan ministries are supported by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, Linville said. “The point is not the number, but it’s the good work that the ministries do throughout the community.”

“We’re a community, our community has needs,” Linville said. “I think part of living out our faith is being involved as a community together and working together to help others.”

Although the ministries are diocesan in scope, they provide needed assistance and service to parishes, Linville said. 

“Our Office of Faith Formation, for example, does a lot of work with individual parishes, as does the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry,” he said. “And of course, vocations benefit all our parishes.”

With the Appeal, Bishop Spalding is inviting families to submit their prayer intentions.

“I have set aside a number of days in my calendar and I’m going to use those days to pray for specific families in our diocese,” Bishop Spalding wrote in his letter. “I will offer up my prayers and intercessions for you, your family and your special intentions. You are important to me, and to the Church. As surely as your financial gift to this Appeal will give hope to those who need it most, your prayer intentions will help me to feel that sense of connection with your family and so many others across the diocese.”

For more information about the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries, contact Linville at Ashley.linville@dioceseofnashville.com or 615-645-9768.