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Parish offertory collections jumped 4.3 percent in the 2018-19 fiscal year, even as the Diocese of Nashville at the same time set a new record by raising more than $2.6 million in the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries.
“To me it reflects two things,” said Brian Cooper, chief administrative officer and vice chancellor of the Diocese of Nashville. “As a community, Nashville continues to be blessed with prosperity. Values of homes are going up, values of businesses are going up, wealth is going up in the city and the diocesan footprint.”
Secondly, he added, the parish collections were rising as the diocese was conducting the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries.
“The theology of abundance holds. It’s not a zero sum game,” Cooper said.
“As we showed the good of how the Bishop’s Annual Appeal dollars are being applied, as we showed that in a transparent and open way, those gifts flowed,” he said. “While at the same time, the parish collections increased.
“It opened people’s hearts to give more,” Cooper said. “When there’s good to be done, people respond.”
In the 2018-19 fiscal year, which stretches from July through June, parish offertory collections totaled $32,082,017. That was an increase of $1,326,187, or 4.3 percent, from the previous year’s total of $30,755,830.
Parishes across the diocese saw increases in their collections, said Bill Whalen, chief financial officer of the diocese.
Some feared that donations to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal would hurt the Sunday collections, Whalen said, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. “If a parish did have a decline, it wasn’t related to the appeal,” he said.
“Nashville’s been blessed with great abundance, and our Catholic parishioners have responded by feeling those blessings and giving in return,” Cooper said. “They could see their gifts in action and doing good, doing what’s right and needed. You feel the joy of those gifts and you want to make a difference.”
“That’s exciting for us because of the opportunities before us as a Catholic community,” Cooper said. “We can do so much more as a Catholic community.”
The 2019 Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries is closing in on its goal of raising $2.7 million before the end of the year.
Money raised from the Bishop’s Annual Appeal supports a variety of ministries and programs sponsored by the diocese, including: seminarian education to prepare the diocese’s priests of the future; adult formation; the diocesan Schools Office; youth ministry; campus ministries, funding to assist and maintain parishes requiring additional support; and Catholic Charities of Tennessee’s services supporting those in the community in need.
Parishioners can still make a donation or pledge through the end of the year. For more information, visit the diocesan website at or contact diocesan Director of Development Ashley Linville at or 615-645-9768.

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