SAN DIEGO — “United in Christ” is the theme of this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA), which will begin at parish Masses during the Feb. 17-18 weekend.
“This year, I invite you once again to contribute to the annual diocesan appeal,” Cardinal Robert W. McElroy said in a message to local Catholics.
“The Appeal,” he said, “is one opportunity which all of us have in San Diego and Imperial counties to truly be united with the Lord in reaching out to those needs which are particularly pressing at the present moment and which represent the critical challenges we face as a Church to make Jesus more present in our midst.”
The diocesan campaign raises funds for essential ministries that benefit the entire local Church, but are too big for individual parishes to efficiently provide by themselves. The goal is to raise $3.5 million by Dec. 31, 2024.
Of those funds, $1 million will be directed to each of the three following causes: Catholic schools; clergy formation and support, helping to provide formation to 13 diocesan seminarians and assistance to around 50 retired priests; and catechesis/faith-formation. The remaining $500,000 will support Catholic Charities.
“Thank you for all that you have done in the past and I hope we’ll be able to do this year,” the cardinal said in his message.
Father Derek Twilliger, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Lakeside, has received a positive response to the campaign from his parishioners.
“The ACA is important to the people of our parish,” he said, “because they know it is to support the many important functions of the diocese, especially the formation of new priests.”
He added, “The people are generous and, when the needs are communicated effectively and consistently, they tend to want to be a part of this.”
Father Jay Bananal, pastor of San Rafael Parish in Rancho Bernardo, said, “I only ask the faith community to believe in and support the ACA, just as I do. I promote 100%-participation as a goal based on equal sacrifice, not equal gift.”
“The ACA helps us in our ministry and mission,” he said. “Whatever we collect over our (diocesan) assessment, we keep for the parish needs.”
Manny Aguilar, director of the diocesan Office for Stewardship, said the recent Synod on Synodality inspired the theme and guided the planning for this year’s campaign.
“Because of the synod,” he said, “we really are looking internally on how we can be more united in Christ – in the Eucharist, in the liturgy, in the life of the Church.”
Those interested in supporting the campaign can donate in a variety of ways, including cash, check, credit/debit card, as well as IRA, stocks and bonds. Payments can be made in one lump sum or in installments.
Online donations can be made at giving.sdcatholic.org.
“All we ask is that people prayerfully consider what they can offer up,” Aguilar said.