The 2021 Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal is under way as parishes work toward reaching and exceeding their individual goals in helping the archdiocese raise its collective $21 million mark.
Holy Spirit parish in the Bronx has already met its $42,000 goal for 2021 by receiving 407 pledges for $48,000 as of March 3.
“This year is special,” Father Ricardo Fajardo, pastor of Holy Spirit since 2010, told CNY. “It’s very amazing during the pandemic and difficult times the people responded faithfully.”
Father Fajardo calls the homes of parishioners to check on them and their families, discuss the parish and ask for a donation to the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal (CASA).
Father Fajardo also discusses the importance of CASA at Masses. The parish offers five weekend Masses, three in Spanish and two in English, attended by 2,200 people. From Tuesday through Friday, the parish also has a morning English Mass and an evening Spanish Mass.
Father Fajardo shared a recent example where a parishioner was giving a donation to the church and the pastor offered to apply the donation to CASA, which the parishioner agreed to.
“It’s my challenge, the Cardinal’s Appeal, every year,” the pastor said. “It’s incredible how the community responds.
“The people are very happy in the church. The people see everything is in excellent condition in the church. I say if you can give money to the Cardinal’s Appeal, we can do something in the church.”
Yulissa Diaz is the office manager for Holy Spirit parish and assists Father Fajardo in calling parishioners for donations.
“I think it’s because of the pastor and the activities we do in the church,” said Ms. Diaz about the parish’s success in raising money for the Cardinal’s Appeal. “He works really hard. He explains to them we have to participate and contribute to the Cardinal’s Appeal so we can keep this church open.”
Ms. Diaz said she began calling parishioners in December for the 2021 CASA campaign, telling them that they could choose to pay off their pledge over the course of the year.
“We explain why the money is needed,” she said. “If they can’t contribute, I understand. At this moment, it’s hard (to donate money).”
This year, CASA will give $10 million to assist financially vulnerable parishes, $6 million for charitable outreach, $2 million for evangelization and Catholic education, $1 million for formation of new parish priests, $1 million for care of retired parish priests and $1 million for Covid-19 relief.
The campaign’s theme is from Matthew 25:40, "Whatever you did for the least of My brothers, you did for Me."
In 2020, $19.87 million was raised, 99 percent of Cardinal Appeal’s $20 million goal, despite the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bettina Alonso, executive director of development in the archdiocese, explained to CNY in a recent story that the money raised exceeded the initial projections of $17 million.
Holy Spirit parish raised $51,000 in 2020 and appears on course to eclipse that mark in 2021.
“This is a blessed community in how they respond to everything—the Cardinal’s Appeal, the community, any emergency happening in other countries,” said Father Fajardo.
“I am very happy to work for the community, to involve the people to connect the community and to help the community.”
Information or to donate: cardinalsappeal.org
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here