Faithful pitch in $7.8 mil to CDA

The Charity and Development Appeal supports more than 70 educational, charitable and spiritual organizations which counsel, feed clothe, house, educate and comfort those in need throughout the four counties in the Diocese of Phoenix.
The Charity and Development Appeal supports more than 70 educational, charitable and spiritual organizations which counsel, feed clothe, house, educate and comfort those in need throughout the four counties in the Diocese of Phoenix.

Local Catholics gave more than $7.8 million this year to fight poverty, educate students and bolster pro-life efforts through the Charity and Development Appeal.

This year’s sum is short of the original $8.1 million goal, but Fr. Greg Schlarb, vicar of stewardship for the Diocese of Phoenix, is pleased with the results.

“We’ll continue to give grants to support those 70-plus ministries for the next fiscal year,” Fr. Schlarb said.

Many parishes, missions, schools and seminarians across the diocese rely on CDA grants. Donations from local Catholics, which CDA disperses as need-based grants, also provide a lifeline to area food pantries like Paz de Cristo.

“I honestly don’t know what $7.8 million looks like, but I imagine it’s a lot,” Megan Scheller, the youngest of this year’s CDA family,  told the chancery staff at the Diocesan Pastoral Center July 12. “It’s definitely [helping] more than just the poor and hungry.”

Other organizations such as the Foundation for Senior Living and Catholic Charities rely on CDA grants to provide services that federal grants can’t support. Fr. Schlarb pointed out Catholic Charities’ prostitution diversion program as an example. The program impacted some 2,480 lives last year.

Funds collected through the appeal also help 65,000 viewers across Arizona tune in each week to the televised Mass. Donors also support widespread personal catechesis, whether that’s in the jails, at the parish or through the Kino Institute where adults, catechists and deacons in training seek formation.

Families gave nearly 37,200 gifts. The average gift was $209, a slight increase from last year’s $185.35 per family.

There are 44 parishes that met their fundraising goal. Many more are very close, Fr. Schlarb said.

“I’m just proud of my fellow pastors,” he continued. “In every direction that they’re pulled, [they’re] still giving CDA the attention that it needs.”

Some pastors promoted the CDA even after their parishes met goal, Fr. Schlarb said.

“They’re not afraid to go over goal because it’s going to these ministries and services,” Fr. Schlarb said, referring to the 13 charitable organizations, 14 schools, 24 parishes plus as many diocesan ministries that receive funding.

Participation ended up at 25.8 percent. Although it’s lower than last year’s 31.7 percent, Fr. Schlarb doesn’t think that meant Catholics stopped giving altogether. Natural disasters across the country and emergency collections could have put Catholic tithing elsewhere, the priest said.

Catholic and corporate donors raised just more than $8.1 million for the 2012 CDA.

“It’s expressed in dollars, but it’s better expressed in the way we show our love for God and for our family,” Fr. Schlarb said, “that one family in Christ.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted thanked local Catholics for their participation and support. The CDA is one way for people of the diocese to show their gratitude to God for their faith, he said.

‘Celebrate Your Faith’

The Charity and Development Appeal  raised more than $7.8 million to support education and evangelization efforts.
To learn more about the CDA, visit the web:

diocesephoenix.org/cda