By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
The Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) has set a fast pace this fall, reaching 58 percent of its $3.1 million goal Nov. 4. At this point last year, it had reached 49 percent of its goal, said Matthew Schuhmann, coordinator of the archdiocese’s annual fundraiser.
So far, the appeal has raised $1,804,562. The CSA is one of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s principle sources of funding for its agencies and offices. It supports more than 100 agencies and services offered by the archdiocese, including seminarian education and support for retired priests.
Two parishes have already reached their goals — St. Francis Xavier Church in Raywick, Ky., and Christ the Healer Church in Edmonton, Ky. Schuhmann said 11 other parishes have raised at least 75 percent of their goal and three of those are at 90 percent.
“We are seeing solid numbers across the board — great participation,” he said. “The parishes are doing a fantastic job thus far. All the hard work pastors and CSA teams are doing is showing in our numbers.
“We can never thank our pastors enough for their support and the parishes for their generosity,” he said.
Two parishes — St. Patrick and Holy Trinity churches — are spicing up their appeals by establishing a friendly rivalry. Actually, its their pastors who are leading the rivalry — Fathers Jeffrey Shooner and Mark Spalding, who served together at Immaculate Conception Church in La Grange, Ky., when Father Shooner was an associate pastor.
Father Spalding, pastor of Holy Trinity, said in an email that it’s a “brotherly competition.”
Father Shooner, the new pastor of St. Patrick, said the rivalry is not so much about the amount of money the parishes raise, but about how creatively they promote the appeal.
“Their goal is twice ours, I think. So it’s about creativity, (and) inspiration behind the Catholic Services Appeal,” Father Shooner said.
St. Patrick is honoring donors by placing a green paper shamrock on the glass wall of the sanctuary each time a parishioner donates to the appeal.
“It’s going very well for us,” Father Shooner said. “We have 67 percent (of goal) at this point. So that’s very good.”
Father Shooner became pastor of St. Patrick in June and credits his predecessor — Father Martin Linebach — and his dedicated parishioners with the success of the appeal, so far.
Both parishes have promoted the appeal by explaining how it helps the Catholic community, and have focused especially on how it helps parishes and pastors — in the form of associate pastors.
Associate pastors often come in the form of relatively new priests (recent seminarians) and retired priests, called senior associates. Father Shooner said he and Father Spalding are thankful for these associates who make a pastor’s job a bit easier.
To add a visual splash, Fathers Spalding and Shooner displayed huge photos of the associate pastors at Holy Trinity and the senior associate at St. Patrick. The photos — depicting cutouts of the priests’ faces at 10 or more times their actual size — provided a humorous reminder about the CSA’s purpose, said Father Shooner.
Depicted in the massive photos were the faces of Father Michael Wimsatt, the director of the archdiocese’s Vocation Office in residence at Holy Trinity; Father Christopher Rhodes, associate at St. Patrick; Father Robert Osborne, senior associate at St. Patrick and Father Christopher Lubecke, associate at Holy Trinity.
Humor is key to this friendly rivalry, both pastors explained.
Father Spalding said, “I have told Father Jeff more than once, ‘Work real hard and you can become the second best parish in the archdiocese!’ ”
On a serious note, he added, “Both of us are blessed to serve our respective and wonderful parishes of Holy Trinity and St. Patrick. We both seek to challenge our parishioners in all manners of stewardship — in particular, the Catholic Services Appeal.”