Pamela Woodward shared how much of a blessing her Catholic faith has been since she entered the Church at the Easter Vigil six years ago.
“I try to make it as central to my life as much as I can, and it’s been a huge blessing to myself, my husband and our entire family,” Mrs. Woodward, a parishioner of St. Joseph and Immaculate Conception in Millbrook, told CNY.
She was one of more than 100 invited guests at the Northern Counties Major Gifts Reception at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie March 22.
“I feel I need to give back and be as supportive as I can to the whole Archdiocese of New York and our parish,” she said.
Mrs. Woodward and her husband, Jeffrey, were among invited guests from Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Putnam counties who contribute to the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal and/or the Renew + Rebuild parish fund-raising campaign. Last year, parishioners from the four counties donated $2.1 million to the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal, which raised $21.2 million in the archdiocese’s 10 counties to surpass its $20 million goal. The Cardinal’s Appeal supports retired priests, seminarians, Catholic schools, Catholic Charities and archdiocesan ministries.
To date, the Renew + Rebuild Campaign has reached $159.8 million, nearly 80 percent of its $200 million goal, in 179 parishes, about 60 percent of the archdiocese’s total.
“I’m looking out this evening with immense admiration and appreciation upon the major givers,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Yes, there are others, but you were the leaders in your parish. You were the leaders in generosity and were leaders in quarterbacking the whole operation.
“I get around to these thank you receptions, and they are some of the most enjoyable evenings I have,” the cardinal added.
The Lourdes reception was the final one for 2018. Previous receptions were held in Manhattan for contributors from the Bronx, Westchester County and Manhattan; Staten Island; and in Goshen for donors from Orange and Rockland counties.
“It’s a chance for us to meet the people who are supporting the Cardinal’s Appeal in the 10 counties. We wish we could do more of them,” said Regina King, director of the Cardinal’s Appeal.
Ed O’Brien, chairman of the Cardinal’s Appeal leadership committee, was in Poughkeepsie to introduce Cardinal Dolan and to speak about the committee formed just over a year ago to spur the appeal’s growth.
“It’s a great idea to do these events,” O’Brien said. “You’re increasing the exposure of the appeal, and people want to hear what the archdiocese is doing. We want them to know the money is being used effectively.”
Dr. Daniel Frascella is the director of the archdiocese’s Adult Faith Formation Office, one of the ministries supported by the Cardinal’s Appeal. Frascella, who spoke at the reception, discussed some of his office’s upcoming programs, including a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., free online classes through Fordham University and an evangelization program, “Discovering Christ,” being offered in Poughkeepsie later this year. The programs are a good way to see Jesus at work in the Church, he said. “We want to help people, if not see Him for the first time, see Him more deeply and personally, and grow in love with Him and the Church. We exist because of your generosity and input.”
Jeffrey Woodward said he enjoyed Cardinal Dolan’s visit to Poughkeepsie.
“To see Cardinal Dolan here is a huge inspiration,” he said. “You hear about him and see everything on TV. When you see him in person, he’s such a personable guy and very inspirational. It spurs you on to keep contributing and keep getting involved.”
Elizabeth Wolf, a parishioner of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Pleasant Valley, has been a longtime supporter of the Cardinal’s Appeal. “We always try to support the cardinal when he comes to Dutchess County. People just love him and are happy to see him,” she said.