During Stewardship Weekend, your donation is more critical than ever

The Diocesan Appeal is aptly named because there is not one part of the Diocese of Albany — which spans 126 churches across 14 counties — that is not impacted by the generosity of the faithful who are guided by the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit inspires in each of us to find a deeper sense of our individual missions and then to help one another to discover them to serve each other. The Holy Spirit helps us to put things together — how can the gifts that I have and the gifts that you have come together in a rich tapestry that is shared?” Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger said when talking about the Diocesan Appeal. “This is Jesus’ Church — Jesus came with a wonderful message that when we pause to listen, it is life-transforming and energizing. The ways in which we do this as community and ultimately in our roles at Christians, is to introduce others to Jesus — don’t we need this more than ever? We are fortunate to have a diocesan family to lift us together in these responsibilities. … Your support of both your parish offertory and the Diocesan Appeal are the most fundamental ways to insure the health and vitality of our entire Catholic community.”

As we near Stewardship Weekend in the Diocese of Albany on Oct. 16-17, your donation to the Diocesan Appeal, formerly the Bishop’s Appeal, is more critical and necessary than ever.

“(The Appeal) really is for all of us, for a diocesan-wide, strong parish network, not just the ones in the big suburban neighborhoods,” said Nancy Bielawa, executive director for Stewardship & Development. “Sometimes we don’t get out of our own backyard and sometimes we don’t realize that our footprint is pretty big and spans the spectrum of people in great need. You don’t have to go to a third-world country to see that there are communities in need and our Diocese covers it all.”

Just look at these examples:

The Diocesan Appeal allows a parish to focus on spiritual ministry to their community rather than being overwhelmed by running a small business. As Father Matthew Frisoni, pastor of the Church of St. Adalbert, St. Paul the Apostle and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, said: “Imagine if there was no Diocese and each parish were on its own to comply with requirements of law, regulations, codes, etc. — this would be very problematic. There are a multitude of ways I ask for assistance from the Diocese and I am not alone. It comes to the aid of each parish for everyday needs and, on occasion, emergencies. A family cares for its members.” 

The Diocesan Appeal is an expression of support for all our parish families. Supporting the Diocesan Appeal ensures that all 126 parishes in the Diocese of Albany have the tools they need to provide for a thriving Catholic community.

“(The Appeal) impacts the services at your particular parish ... but also the greater church,” Bielawa said. “I don’t know if we make enough of a case for that. If you are in a parish that is bursting at the seams, has a lot of staff, and has spectacular flowers on the altar at Christmas, you might not know that not every parish is like that. Those parishes might rely on the Diocese more than your parish does, but aren’t those parishes worthy? They are your fellow Catholics, fellow Christians.”

IMPACT ON VULNERABLE NEIGHBORS: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany has been doing heroic work during the pandemic in so many ways. Through its Emergency Assistance Program, people in need get the financial support they so desperately need, particularly through rental assistance. And let’s not forget the CC MOVE initiative! Catholic Charities, with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and local community partners, has distributed over 1.7 million pounds of fresh, frozen and shelf-stable food items to 169,000 people across 52,000 households so far this year.

TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING: Catho­lic Schools across the Diocese of Albany have continued to see an increase in student enrollment during the pandemic. Through in-person learning and small classes, our schools teach math, science, reading and spelling but also bring God into the classroom to truly educate the whole person. The Catholic School Office supports 21 schools across seven different counties and a portion of the Diocesan Appeal is invested in growing the roots of our Catholic faith.

FUTURE SHEPHERDS: This year, the Diocese of Albany ordained five men into the priesthood — Fathers Matthew Duclos, Kyle Gorenski, Daniel McHale, Nathaniel Resila and Stephen Yusko. Most people in the Diocese probably would not know that approximately one-third of the Appeal revenue pays for the educational expenses of the seminarians (priests and deacons).

“Looking back on my years at seminary, I am incredibly grateful to the donors of the Diocesan Appeal because their generous gifts helped to pay in-full my six years of seminary; a gift that allowed me to be a priest without worrying about the financial burden that often accompanies our studies,” Father Yusko said. “In this way, Appeal donors are actively contributing to the growth of the priesthood.”

These are just a few examples of the impact the Diocesan Appeal makes in our Diocese. Imagine how many people in need could be helped if every Catholic household made a gift continuing the tradition of generosity and care begun by our predecessors in faith.