By JORDAN MCMORROUGH
CHARLESTON — The arrival of summer months always seems to herald a slower pace within families, society and the Church. However, for the Diocesan Development Fund, an effort to level out the summer curve will be in full swing with a mailing to 13,000 to 14,000 people who have donated to the appeal in the past.
With the campaign over the $1 million mark in pledges, the June mailing, which includes a letter from Bishop David B. Thompson, an informational flier listing opportunities for donations of time, talent and treasure, as well as a pledge card, stresses to former donors a renewal of their previous commitment. “Only by returning some portion of our wealth to the larger Church can we enable the progress of God’s earthly kingdom among us,” writes the bishop.
Greg Bowden, DDF assistant, said that “the campaign is going well, but this is not a time to sit back.” In July, those who had received the June mailing but not responded will be contacted to discuss their decision. “The best opportunity for growth is to keep the summer months level,” he said. Also, among continuing efforts for the appeal, Bowden said, will be pledge reminders mailed out in September and December.
“Let us recall the words of St. Paul, who wrote, ‘According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise builder I laid a foundation.’ Please do not miss this chance to help lay a strong foundation for the future of your parish and our diocese,” writes Bishop Thompson in the June letter.
The Diocesan Development Fund provides over 25 percent of the diocese’s total income.
The largest recipients of DDF funds are priests, pastoral administrators, and deacons through direct aid, seminarians assistance, and vocations programs; Catholic Charities by providing services through each deanery’s office; and Catholic schools. Those three areas together account for over half of the funds.
The remainder pays for a wide range of services, including direct aid to several parishes for programs or renovations; evangelization and outreach efforts; Black Ministry and Hispanic Ministry; the Institute for Parish Leadership Development; the diocesan archives; and goal-sharing with parishes who reach their goal to build an endowment.
As of May 27, the 1998 DDF campaign had received $966,000, or 56 percent of its $1,750,000 goal. Counting outstanding pledge payments $1,197,000 has been raised from 11,480 participating families. Also, 21 parishes have reached their goal.