By Alex Previtera, Special to The Catholic Virginian

During the weekends of March 11th-12th and March 18th-19th, the Diocese is conducting the in-pew gift phase of the 2017 Annual Diocesan Appeal – Building Our Family of Faith. These weekends allow the opportunity for the pastors and parish Appeal volunteers to ask parishioners for their support during Mass.

2017 is a critical year for the Appeal as it comes on the heels of the Living Our Mission capital campaign. This campaign was an historic first-time effort to build major endowments and capital to support our parishes and larger Church leading into the future. Although many projects were realized in the short-term, the vast majority of funds raised were designed for the future. In contrast, the Appeal is initiated every year to meet ministry and program needs of the present. While the Living Our Mission campaign was an overwhelming success and set the Church up for a strong financial future, the Appeal is still a very necessary component of meeting its goals in the short-term.

Based on the urgent needs of the Diocese, the overall goal for this year’s Appeal is $2,671,471. As of March 3, early momentum was quickly being built with nearly 2,000 individuals and families contributing nearly $500,000 in support of the 2017 effort.

Each gift that is contributed to the Appeal makes a real difference because the gifts of many enable our Diocese to deliver needed ministry and services such as heating and grocery assistance to families, health insurance for our retired priests and tuition for our future priests to attend the seminary. These ministries are among nineteen receiving funding from the 2017 Appeal. In addition, all parishes receive back a portion of their funds collected to be used for important local priorities.

For more information or to find out how you can contribute to the 2017 Annual Diocesan Appeal, please visit: http://richmondcatholicfoundation.org/ giving/annual-appeal/.

(Alex Previtera, CFRE is the Director of Development for the Catholic Community Foundation of the Diocese of Richmond).