The 2014 Charity and Development Appeal begins Feb. 8-9 in parishes throughout the Diocese of Phoenix.
For more than 40 years Catholics have responded in love to the corporal and spiritual needs of others by giving to the diocesan appeal that supports more than 70 spiritual, charitable and educational organizations throughout the state.
Last year more than $7.7 million was given to organizations that strengthen families, feed the poor, assist the unemployed in finding work, help the elderly and assist those struggling in times of crisis throughout Arizona.
The 2014 co-chairs, Fernando and Josefina Camou, have a unique perspective on services and programs receiving CDA funding.
Their son, Fernando, Jr., is one of the three diocesan seminarians studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Fernando, a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale, has been studying in Rome for the past two years.
“It has always been a family priority to support the CDA because we know the Church needs it,” said Josefina, a mother of five. “Now, it really hits home since our son entered the seminary. The bishop is trying to provide the best education for the future priests, and CDA helps with tuition and expenses.”
For the past five years, Josefina has worked as the Hispanic Coordinator for the Families of America method of Natural Family Planning in the diocesan Office of Marriage and Respect Life.
Working part-time from home, she teaches classes and is a certified instructor and trainer with Families of America.
The bilingual couple have been parishioners at OLPH for the past 24 years, where they have volunteered in marriage preparation and NFP for the past two decades.
Josefina said CDA donations make it possible for these programs to be expanded into Spanish-speaking parishes “to help the whole community.”
There are now 13 Spanish-speaking NFP teachers, and classes in Oak Creek Canyon, Lake Havasu and Bullhead City.
“This is a great honor to participate in this important campaign,” Josefina said. “Pray for us that we do what God needs us to accomplish.”
Message of love
As a family, they have also been involved in parish and community outreach, which includes volunteering at a local women’s clinic and teaching a chastity program for teens.
“I have seen how our parish is improving because of the support of CDA,” Josefina said. “We need catechism classes and sacrament preparation, but we need people who are trained to teach them. We cannot provide the training ourselves, but the diocese is there to support us and has wonderful training for volunteers.”
Through the many generous and varied donation amounts, Catholics support programs like Paz de Cristo, Life Choices Women’s Clinic, the Foundation for Senior Living and Catholic Charities Community Services.
Additionally, donations provide training and scholarships for deacons, priests, religious and seminarians, as well as services that train catechists, youth ministers and other staff and volunteers at parishes.
Every dollar counts.
Moreover, through outreach and evangelization ministries, parishioners are helping bring the message of love to all — through their “magnificent calling.”
“Through the CDA, we have the unique opportunity to be a light in the darkness,” said Carrie Aranda, director of parish engagement in the diocesan Office of Stewardship. “With the participation of each parish and each parishioner, we become a brighter light. Together, we can bring more hope to those in need.”