During Lent, Catholics across the globe will join in a journey of sacrifice and renewal. In our diocese, that spiritual journey will coincide with an opportunity for material sacrifice and community-wide renewal in the form of the Annual Diocesan Appeal.
“Support for the Annual Diocesan Appeal is essential to sustaining the mission and charitable works of the Church of Richmond,” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout. “There are ongoing needs and ministries in the diocese that are beyond the capacity of any one parish to support or sustain.”
Solicitation for the appeal will begin in early February with a letter from Bishop Knestout, which will be sent to many households in the diocese. Then, during the first weekends of Lent (Feb. 17-18 and Feb. 24-25), each parish will conduct special in-pew weekends to help solicit support for the 2024 appeal effort.
Unlike parish appeals generally used to fund site-specific repairs, renovations or expansions, money raised through the Annual Diocesan Appeal is spent on programs shared by the whole diocese. In 2023, more than $4.8 million was raised by more than 11,000 donors.
Examples of needs funded by the Annual Appeal include campus ministries, migrant ministries and a fuel and hunger fund; clergy support comes in the form of seminarian education, pay for international priests and health insurance for retired priests; there are lay leadership programs, ethnic ministry programs, workshops and historical preservation programs. In all, 22 categories are listed in the appeal letter.
Broadly speaking, 22% of the projects fall under the heading “Empowering the Next Generation”; 33% under “Providing for Those in Need”; and 35% under “Strengthening Catholic Communities.” Approximately 10% of funds are used to administer the appeal effort.
“I always encourage parishioners to give where their heart is. Any help they can give is deeply appreciated and will assist us in sustaining the mission of the Church in Virginia,” said Bishop Knestout. “We would struggle to adequately sustain much of the Church’s mission without the Annual Appeal.”
“[The Annual Diocesan Appeal] allows one person to make an impact on many different ministries and programs of our larger Church,” said Alex Previtera, director of the appeal since 2010. “It is amazing to see the generosity of so many, year in and year out.”