Through local Catholics’ support, the Annual Appeal of the Archdiocese of Washington helps transform the lives of people every day, through outreach in ministries along city streets, in suburban neighborhoods and in the rural countryside. The theme for this year’s appeal is “Hearts filled with Hope.”

In a reflection announcing the archdiocese’s 2020 Annual Appeal, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory wrote, “With our witness of hope and love for the people we encounter daily, we actively share the love of Christ that sustains us.”

The Annual Appeal, which provides key funding for the charitable and educational outreach and ministries of the Catholic Church in the nation’s capital and the five surrounding counties, will be announced in parishes during Masses on the weekend of Feb. 8-9, and people will be invited to make pledges during the appeal’s commitment weekend will be on Feb. 15-16.

Msgr. John Enzler, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, said that agency – which is the largest nongovernmental social service provider in the Washington metropolitan area – depends on the support that it receives from the archdiocesan family of faith through their donations to the Annual Appeal.

“Without the appeal, we would find ourselves very short of resources to do the work we’re called to do, to take care of the poor and the vulnerable and those most in need,” he said.

The Annual Appeal’s support provides vital assistance to Catholic Charities’ Sanctuaries for Life program, Msgr. Enzler said, adding, “It allows us to make sure babies are not aborted, that moms and families have the resources they need to bring their child to full-term, and it allows us to help families, once the baby arrives, to become self-sufficient.”

Father Carter Griffin, the rector of the archdiocese’s Saint John Paul II Seminary, noted how support for the Annual Appeal provides funding for the formation and education of the next generation of priests studying at that seminary and at the archdiocese’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Those future priests will provide the sacraments to local Catholics at all stages of their lives.

“The Annual Appeal is one way to contribute decisively to ongoing renewal in the Church by nurturing well-formed, faithful priests for the Church of Washington,” said Father Griffin, who added, “The seminarians and all of us engaged in their formation are deeply grateful to every person who takes part in the formation of our future priests through their prayers, sacrifices, and generosity towards the Annual Appeal.”

In a presentation on the Annual Appeal, Deacon Don Longano, the director of the archdiocese’s Office of the Permanent Diaconate, noted that the appeal also supports the education and ongoing formation of permanent deacons who are serving in parishes and engaged in charitable ministries throughout the area, including at hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.

The Annual Appeal supports more than 70 ministries in the Archdiocese of Washington, including Catholic schools and parish religious education; family and pro-life outreach; ministries to different cultures; ministries at six local college campuses; the TV Mass for those unable to come to church; communications outreach; evangelization ministries; and outreach to young adults.

Sara Blauvelt, the director of catechesis for the Archdiocese of Washington, noted that every parish in the archdiocese benefits from the Annual Appeal.

“Every parish children’s religious education program, RCIA, sacramental preparation, and adult formation program are supported by the appeal funds allotted to the Office for Catechesis,” she said, adding that appeal support makes it possible for that office to offer “spiritual, professional and practical support to the hundreds of dedicated parish catechetical leaders and thousands of volunteers catechists who serve in our parishes ensuring that the faith is taught.”

No money donated to the Annual Appeal goes toward the appeal’s operating costs or toward any legal or settlement fees.

In his reflection, Archbishop Gregory thanked local Catholics for their support of the appeal and “our vital work in the service of our Lord.”

“With your participation, we are able to tangibly share hope throughout our local Church here in the Archdiocese of Washington,” the archbishop said. Echoing the appeal’s theme, he added, “Together, with hearts filled with hope, we can provide hope, comfort and strength in our communities.”