By Colleen Rowan WEST VIRGINIA—The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic Sharing Appeal had a record-breaking year raising more than $2.5 million. This is the first time since its inception that the appeal has surpassed the $2 million mark. The last time it came close was in 2015 raising more than $1.9 million. The diocese’s Director of Stewardship and Development Krissie Benson said this year’s success is due to the parish priests for promoting the CSA and the faithful for their generosity. “I really want to say a huge congratulations to the pastors,” Benson said. “Many of them have worked all year to make the Catholic Sharing Appeal successful at their parish by talking about how the money will be used at their parish, updating parishioners on their progress, and thanking them for their kindness. “We are so grateful for the generosity of so many across the state of West Virginia,” she continued. “Thank you for being a part of this historical year for the Catholic Sharing Appeal and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. We appreciate you!” In its 10th year, the CSA surpassed its $1.8 million goal by $700,000, raising funding for various diocesan ministries. “As we celebrate 10 years of the Catholic Sharing Appeal, I am reminded of the thousands of gifts our diocese has been blessed to receive each year,” Bishop Michael J. Bransfield said in a letter to CSA donors. “I am so grateful for you and the many who joined you this year, responding to the invitation to ‘Give Your Hands to Serve and Your Hearts to Love.’ Your gifts allow us to provide so many needed ministries and programs throughout the state and to make a real difference in the lives of those who are touched by funds from the CSA. Annual gifts to the Catholic Sharing Appeal are the key to supporting not just the ministries and programs within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, but also our parishes and missions.” Formerly the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, the campaign was revamped into the Catholic Sharing Appeal in 2007. The first 50 percent of the parish goal funds various diocesan ministries. All funds raised over the first 50 percent are returned to parishes, including every dollar over goal. “This was a fantastic year for the Catholic Sharing Appeal,” said Heidi Sforza, assistant director of Stewardship and Development. “Not only did we surpass our diocesan goal by record-breaking amounts, but so many parishes also exceeded their goals by large margins. Over $1.5 million will be given directly to parishes through the 2017 CSA. So many of our parishes will be able to fund projects, renovations, and pay off debt through the generosity of our CSA donors.” Many parishes use the CSA to help fund needed projects. “They see the appeal as the vehicle to use to help fund some of their most pressing needs,” Benson said. “For some, it may be to purchase a new sign for the front of the parish, or to restore stained glass windows, for others it may be to pave the parking lot, or to reduce the debt at their parish.” For example, St. Mary Parish in Star City used its parish share to help fund a renovation project which included a new narthex and renovation of the church’s interior. St. Patrick Parish in Weston is using its parish share to help fund a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system for the gymnasium at St. Patrick Parish School. The CSA provides funding for more than 20 programs and ministries in the diocese, which provide outreach, formation, evangelization, education and advocacy for thousands of families and individuals throughout the state. Vocations, Formation and Mission, Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Communications and Marketing are just a sampling of the various ministries that receive funding through the CSA. The top 10 parishes/missions that raised the most funds were: St. Francis de Sales Parish, Beckley; St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Wheeling; St. Mary Parish, Star City; St. Joseph Parish, Huntington; St. Francis de Sales Parish, Morgantown; St. Patrick Parish, Weston; St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Cheat Lake; the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Charleston; the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Wheeling; and Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Huntington. The top 10 parishes/missions to surpass their goal by percentage were: St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Wheeling; St. Francis de Sales Parish, Beckley; St. Jude Parish, Glen Dale; St. Patrick Parish, Weston; St. Mary Parish, Star City; St. Joseph Parish, Proctor; St. Mark the Evangelist Mission, Bartow; St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Cheat Lake; the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Wheeling; and St. Peter Parish, Welch.