By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
While the archdiocese is only a few days into this year’s appeal, gifts and pledges already total more than a half-million dollars. That represents 15 percent of the $3.1 million goal, Matthew Schuhmann, coordinator of annual giving for the stewardship office, said in an interview at the Chancery last week.
“We are just ahead of this time last year and last year was a good year,” Schuhmann said.
One of the reasons for the impressive start, Schuhmann said, is that people of the archdiocese are able to put a face on the need through the appeal videos.
“The videos highlight all the great work CSA does and all the people affected throughout the archdiocese,” Schuhmann said.
The videos are divided into four 90-second “vignettes” and can be viewed at www.archlou.org/csadonate.
“The videos are very flexible and can be shared on social media. You can watch them on your phone and your laptop,” Schuhmann said. “Parishes can show them at meetings.”
The vignettes highlight four of the more than 100 agencies and offices served by funds from the Catholic Services Appeal — the Sister Visitor Center, retired priests’ fund, parish level support and youth ministry.
The first video details the story of Chelly Lee, a woman who was assisted by Catholic Charities’ Sister Visitor Center.
In her video, Lee recalled her emotional journey to the center and thanked the donors to the CSA.
“Just to know there are people out there that do care whether or not I’m on the face of the Earth or not. It means a whole lot,” she said in her testimony.
In the second video, Father Thomas Boland, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, said the retired priests’ fund allows priests some peace of mind once they retire.
“When we get older and perhaps more frail and our health fails, it is a great consolation that our health needs will be met and we won’t have to worry about that kind of care,” Father Boland said.
In the third video, Father Matthew Hardesty, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Fredericktown, Ky., and Holy Rosary Church in Manton, Ky., described how the CSA has supported his ministry and priesthood.
“When you can see yourselves as part of that larger family, it helps to broaden our view of the church. We are all in this one family together and we should feel an eagerness to support each other,” he said.
In the final vignette, Cameron Williams, a young member of St. Augustine Church, talks about the youth programs he’s attended.
“My participation in these programs has really affirmed a lot about my faith and religion and strengthened it,” he said.
Nick Eve, the director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Stewardship and Development, noted that the appeal operates the same way a family does.
“Just as Father Hardesty says (in his video), we really are the body of Christ. We are 111 parishes and 66,000-plus households. Just as in a family, we work together to address needs in a time when the needs are growing,” Eve said.
Schuhmann added that pastors have led the effort in helping their parishioners understand the appeal.
“We can never thank the donors enough for their generosity and we can never thank our pastors enough for leading the effort in the parishes,” Schuhmann said.
Follow the CSA on Twitter at @ArchLouCSA.