2014 ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL

What is the Annual Catholic Appeal?

The Annual Catholic Appeal was initiated in 1959 to provide for the educational, human,  pastoral and spiritual needs of the people of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. The Appeal enables our church to implement and administer critical services in a comprehensive framework in order to carry out the work of Jesus Christ. It would not be possible to carry out His work without your assistance.

It is said that the youth are the future of the Church.  We believe that the youth are the Church’s present as well.  When a sense of community and faith are instilled at a young age, through Catholic school education or through parish Religious Education, those foundations continue to grow and will bear much fruit for the future of the Church.  Let us share some statistics with you:

•More than 3,400 students attend our 14 Catholic elementary schools, pre-K through eighth grade. Nearly 900 students attend our 4 Catholic high schools.

•More than 30,000 students from grades K-12 participate in parish-based religious education activities in the Diocese of Springfield. These students are taught by more than 1,800 catechists trained by the Diocese.

•Nearly 300 students attend weekly Mass at the Newman Center at the University of Massachusetts. In addition, 19 clergy and 10 religious are “alums” of the Newman Center.

•Homework House – 110 students from the poorest areas in Holyoke receive after-school assistance at 2 locations of the Homework House. The Springfield area is being served by Homework House through an agreement with the Boys and Girls Club.

•The Catholic Youth Center – More than 800 students participate in programs at the Catholic Youth Center in Pittsfield

Feeding the Hungry is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy carried out through the Annual Catholic Appeal.  Here are some facts about food programs in our diocese:

•Providence Ministries provides shelter and meals to our brothers and sisters in need. A food pantry and used furniture store provide necessities at a fair price for those in need. Without these services, many of them would go hungry and be sleeping on the streets.

•Take & Eat provides nearly 45,000 meals to elderly and disabled home-bound on weekends

•Lorraine's Soup Kitchen provides a daily meal as well as pantry services to families from greater Chicopee area.

We provide educational services to people of all abilities:

• More than 1,000 developmentally disabled individuals throughout the four counties of western Massachusetts receive assistance through Jericho, The Bureau for Exceptional Children and Adults. The staff at Jericho strives to bring dignity, respect, and wholeness into the lives of people with disabilities.

• Eleven seminarians from the Diocese of Springfield are currently studying to be the priests of the future.

• Nearly 2,000 people chose the Rite of Christian Initiation between 2005 and 2012 and joined the Catholic Church here in Springfield.

• Financial support is provided to retirement resources for our retired clergy, and also, to a retirement fund for the many elderly religious who committed and dedicated their lives to serve the Church and us.

• One-half million viewers each week have access to the uplifting news from throughout Western Massachusetts during Catholic Communications’ half-hour news magazine broadcast of “Real to Reel.”

• 28,000 home-bound sick and elderly are spiritually nourished each week though Catholic Communications’ broadcast of the Mass, “Chalice of Salvation.”

• Thousands of Catholics rely on Catholic Communications’ news web site iobserve.org accessing local, national and international Catholic news items. On our YouTube site we have received more than 107,000 views, our Blog has enjoyed 103,000 views.  In the Social Media arena, the Catholic Communications Facebook page has more than 1100 fans and we are growing!  The diocesan magazine, The Catholic Mirror, published 8 times per year by Catholic Communications, reaches 62,000 homes.

To contact the Annual Catholic Appeal click here.