Getting to know this year’s CDA co-chairs

2013 CDA English Video from Office of Stewardship on Vimeo.

Lightning struck twice for the Charity and Development Appeal co-chairs, Matthew and Cynthia Scheller, who not only welcome a second term, but count it as a blessing.

CDA co-chairs Matthew and Cynthia Scheller.
CDA co-chairs Matthew and Cynthia Scheller.

The couple, and their four children, embrace another opportunity to tout the good works accomplished throughout the diocese as a result of generous pledges received through the annual CDA campaign.

Moreover, the family views this second chance not only as a way to build rapport, but to personally thank individuals who work behind the scenes on the diocesan campaign.

This year, the goal has been set at $8.1 million.

“I’m thankful to all those people in our parishes. They are the salt of the earth and the backbone of the CDA,” Cynthia said. “They make sure to share the mission and goal of the CDA through bulletin announcements, pamphlets and videos.”

With 91 parishes located throughout the diocese, which spans 43,967 square miles, it takes a team of parish staff and volunteers to disseminate the information to parishioners in the pews.

Cynthia said working with the diocesan Stewardship Office to promote the annual campaign has been a living witness to her children.

“They are seeing who benefits from the CDA monies,” she said. “We are blessed as chairs to hear the testimonies, and we pray for funding because without it, someone, some baby or some senior, is not going to get a service they need.”

The annual appeal supports more than 70 spiritual, charitable and educational organizations throughout four Arizona counties within the diocese; Mohave, Maricopa, Coconino and Yavapai.

The couple, from St. Thomas the Aquinas Parish where their children attend school, said they will focus closely on mentoring the 2014 CDA chairs.

Once the chairs are introduced at the bishops Miter Society Dinner of Appreciation, the calendar is quick to fill up. There are several kick-offs scheduled next January, coupled with speaking engagements, dinners and gatherings throughout the year.

“The first time around, it’s all a blur, but a second go will give us a chance to soak it all in,” Cynthia said. “Being the CDA chairs is a unique opportunity. We’ll be able to share our experience with the new chairs, and discuss their role.”

Cynthia said knowing CDA monies go to support local individuals and families in need is a living witness shared by the local Church.

“It’s real life,” she said. “The money is used to make a difference in people’s lives, whether it’s through transportation, shelter, food or programming.”

All four of their children contribute to the campaign, and Cynthia said no gift is too small.

“Every gift makes a difference,” she said.

Sara Scheller, 13, will be in the first graduating class of St. Thomas the Aquinas School. She is well aware that some children can only attend a Catholic school due to generous contributions to the campaign.

“The things I have learned about my faith in elementary school will stick with me for the rest of my life,” Sara said. “I try to live my faith every day by giving glory to God, and that makes a difference and people notice.”

Her mother said all the sacrifice and hard work is worth the opportunity to have her children attend a Catholic school.

“Our schools that need CDA funding are getting it. We’re fortunate that our school doesn’t need help, but one day we may have a need,” Cynthia said. “Every year demographics change, but it’s good to be able to trust where the money goes; it’s going for the betterment of people and His work.”