By Tim Bishop
WHEELING—The 2015 Catholic Sharing Appeal (CSA) has kicked off with a $1.6 million goal, giving the faithful the opportunity to support the diocese’s ministries and programs as well as their home parishes.
Krissie Benson, director of Development for the diocese, said that the theme of the appeal is “Build Our Church.” Benson said that the CSA helps build the church in West Virginia by supporting Catholic education, diocesan ministries and Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa).
In supporting Catholic education, which receives 13 percent of the appeal funds, the CSA provides funding for professional development, school-based health initiatives, tuition assistance and curriculum enhancement and initiation. CSA monies will also be used to help support a newly formed Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education, which supports children with special needs who attend Catholic schools.
The CSA enhances diocesan ministries, which receives 17 percent of the appeal funds, through the support of youth-based programs; such as Camp Bosco. CSA funding is also used to support evangelization efforts through the televised broadcast of weekly Mass available on the diocesan website: www.dwc.org. Benson said that appeal funds will also be used to help parishes purchase new computer software to enhance communication, manage ministries and better track finances.
Thirteen percent of the appeal funds support CCWVa in its effort to reduce poverty throughout the Mountain State. The CSA funding helps fill the needs of those who need it most. With help from the CSA, CCWVa is better able to honor basic human dignity, support childhood development and strengthen families.
To help people better understand the programs supported by the CSA, the diocese has produced a special video with information about each program and how CSA funding is used. The video is available at the CSA website www.dwc.org/CSA. Benson said the site is also designed to make online donating easier.
Benson noted that all of the design and layout work for the CSA materials were produced “in house” by graphic designers Amber Chambers and Colleen Touvelle. “All of the artwork was hand drawn by Touvelle,” Benson said, “and designed by Chambers. We have an extremely talented staff who works on this project each year.”
In the appeal, parishes will keep not only 50 percent of their CSA goal but those that raise over 100 percent of their goal will be able to keep the additional funds.
After a successful 2014 appeal, which saw a record number of donors and money raised, Benson said the appeal would not be possible if not for the great support of each parish. “History has shown,” she said, “that the more supportive the pastor is about supporting it and promoting it, the more successful the appeal is.”
Benson said that there are several ways to contribute to the CSA. Donors can make a pledge or donate directly by using a credit card, personal check or by using direct debit. Donors may also make a gift of appreciated securities. Benson said gifts can be broken down into eight monthly payments to make is easier for supporters to give.
Gifts may be sent to: Catholic Sharing Appeal, PO Box 230, Wheeling, WV 26003.
Commitment weekend is April 26-27. For more information about the appeal, visit www.dwc.org/CS.