In 2018, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington continued their legacy of generously supporting the Annual Appeal that provides funding for outreach programs across the metropolitan area.  

“The final tally of the 2018 Appeal is $14,165,000 – 99.1% of goal,” said Joe Gillmer, the Executive Director of Development for the Archdiocese of Washington. That amount, he added, surpassed the amount collected in the 2017 appeal by $164,000.

The news of the appeal’s success comes in the wake of what was a challenging second half of the year for the Archdiocese and the U.S. Catholic Church, with revelations regarding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and a renewed focus on the clergy sex abuse scandals and how the Church leadership is addressing it. 

The Archdiocese of Washington’s Annual Appeal, now in its 50th year, provides the main source of funding for the archdiocese’s educational and charitable outreach and for its wide range of ministries serving people in the nation’s capital and five surrounding counties. The Annual Appeal continues a half-century legacy of bringing Christ’s help and hope every day to thousands of people in this community. 

“It is heartwarming to see the faithful of the Church of Washington join together in support of the Annual Appeal,” Gillmer said. “More than 34,000 donors generously provided over $14 million in support for mission and ministries programs that will positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of people this year.”

A 2018 Annual Appeal progress report tabulated on Jan. 11, 2019 found that 39 parishes exceeded more than 100 percent of their goal in the amount collected from their parishioners for the appeal. According to that report, 32 parishes exceeded 90 percent of their goal, and another 12 parishes came within a few percentage points of reaching that level. The archdiocese has 139 parishes.

Praising that generous response, Gillmer in an earlier interview said it reflected Catholics “recognizing as a Church that we have a job to do, a mission to support those in need… It’s a reminder that no matter what circumstances are in the world, we always come together for (our) faith, for things that are important, and this is a reflection of that.”

That generosity, he added, shows “we’re here for each other. We come together. The appeal is an extension of that.” 

And that response, extended by so many people across the archdiocese is able “to leverage an extraordinary impact,” he said. “…This means these things (the archdiocese’s outreach and ministries) happen. We do the work of the Church.”

In 1969, the Archdiocese of Washington began its annual appeal, and the 2019 50th anniversary campaign was launched in January. The theme for the archdiocese’s 2019 Annual Appeal is “Our Faith. Our Hope. Our Mission.”

A promotional booklet for the 2019 Annual Appeal notes that in the area of faith, the appeal supports formation of seminarians and deacons, continuing education and the care of retired priests, and the offices for vocations and consecrated life.

The appeal provides hope in its support of tuition assistance for Catholic schools and for its funding for parish religious education programs, school safety, and university campus ministries.

In support of the Church’s mission, the appeal funds marriage and family ministries, outreach to youth and young adults and to people with special needs, programs celebrating the cultural diversity of this Catholic community, ministries to the hospitalized or imprisoned, efforts supporting the dignity of life, communications outreach, and support for Catholic Charities, which serves more than 140,000 women, men and children annually.

“For most people, some aspect of the appeal hits close to home for them,” said Elizabeth Shaughney, the director of the archdiocese’s Annual Appeal since this past fall. 

Since its beginning 50 years ago, the Annual Appeal of the Archdiocese of Washington has been a work of faith. 

Every penny contributed to the appeal goes directly to the programs and charities that are part of the appeal. All administrative costs associated with the appeal are paid for from separate funding sources of the archdiocese.

A fact sheet from the archdiocese notes that no donations to the Annual Appeal or from parish giving are used for legal costs or settlements related to abuse cases.

“All of this is going to things that make a difference,” said Gillmer of the donations that local Catholics make to the appeal.

The key dates at parishes for the Archdiocese of Washington’s 2019 Annual Appeal include Announcement Weekend on Feb. 16-17, Commitment Weekend on Feb. 23-24, and Follow-up Weekend on March 2-3.

(For information on the Archdiocese of Washington’s Annual Appeal, go online to appeal.adw.org .)