SAN DIEGO — The 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal will kick off during the weekend of Feb. 18 to 19.
By the end of the year, the Diocese of San Diego hopes to raise $3.5 million, which will provide essential funding for Catholic education, clergy formation and support, faith formation, and Catholic Charities.
Though this year’s theme is “Living Our Faith,” it could just as easily have been “Many Hands Make Light Work.” The appeal supports ministries that benefit all parishes, but which would be impractical and inefficient for individual parishes to provide on their own.
“No parish can do this alone, and we wouldn’t want them to, because it’s too much of an effort to have every parish do everything,” said Manny Aguilar, director of the diocesan Office for Stewardship.
“It’s a lot easier for all of us to do it together.”
Each of the diocese’s almost 100 parishes has been given a financial goal to meet. If parishes surpass their goals, the surplus can be retained for their own needs.
Aguilar said that the appeal normally surpasses its $3.5-million goal. In pre-pandemic years, he said, the appeal typically took in about $5.5 million overall, with surpluses returned to the parishes. In 2020 and 2021, it fell short at about $4.8 million and $4.9 million, respectively. But the 2022 campaign raised about $5.2 million.
“We are very heartened and grateful for the donors living their faith by sharing their time, talent and treasure,” Aguilar said of those who contributed to last year’s appeal, acknowledging the hardships associated with the pandemic.
Of the $3.5-million goal for this year’s campaign, $1 million each is earmarked for Catholic schools, formation for seminarians and support for retired priests, and faith formation. The remaining $500,000 will go to Catholic Charities.
More than 14,000 students attend one of the Diocese of San Diego’s 41 elementary and three high schools. Those educational institutions distinguished themselves in the last academic year by re-opening for in-person instruction after COVID-19 a full year before most public schools.
Last year, the diocese ordained two men to the priesthood and four to the transitional diaconate. Financial support for their formation came from the Appeal. In addition to investing in future priests, it helps the diocese to sustain dozens of retired priests.
About 1,000 people from San Diego and Imperial counties joined the Catholic Church at last year’s Easter Vigil, after having attended faith-formation classes in preparation for this life-changing step.
Last year, Catholic Charities provided around 317,000 pounds of food through its Emergency Food Distribution Network, opened a new shelter for homeless women in San Diego, and has continued to assist asylum-seekers and refugees, among its many other initiatives and programs.
Aguilar described these statistics as “concrete results in living our faith.”
In a letter to his flock about this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal, Cardinal Robert W. McElroy wrote, “We are called to live our faith in so many ways. I ask you to prayerfully consider supporting this splendid work of the Lord.”
Donations to the Annual Catholic Appeal can be made by cash, check, credit card, stocks, or IRA. For more information or to donate, visit sdcatholic.org/giving/annual-catholic-appeal.