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July 23, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 19

ARTICLES

Retired Priests aided by Diocesan Appeal

Thanks to the success of the 2011 Annual Diocesan Appeal, the Diocese is able to allocate additional funds to our retired priests as well as provide increased assistance to those with needs through the Fuel and Hunger Fund.

From the 2011 effort, a total of $3,334,955 was raised from 19,858 donors. This amount exceeded the initial goal of $2,035,000 by 64 percent.

When the initial goal is exceeded, additional funds are distributed among the various Case for Support elements. Based upon the recommendation of the Pastors’ Advisory Committee, and with approval from Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, an additional $300,000 will go to the priests’ pension plan, which is now at 38 percent funded.

The remaining funds, totaling approximately $93,000, will be given to the Fuel and Hunger Fund which supports Catholic outreach and ministries serving children, families in need and the elderly in communities across the Diocese.

These funds provide meals and groceries as well as help people with heating, rent and shelter. In the first round of funding from the 2011 Appeal, the Office of Justice and Peace was able to provide 62 grants to parishes and Catholic organizations totaling $150,000.

The additional contribution to the priests’ pension plan is part of a longer-term plan to bring the funded status closer to national averages. The priests’ pension plan is funded by the parishes and this increase in the funded percentage will have a direct impact on parish operating budgets by lowering future assessments.

Joanne Nattrass, executive director of Commonwealth Catholic Charities, said upon hearing the news of additional resources for the Fuel and Hunger Fund, “these funds come at a very critical time.”

“While there are never enough resources to meet the demand, parishes and Catholic Charities agencies will put these funds to work, directly helping our neighbors who are hungry, in danger of losing shelter or at risk of having a utility turned off,” she explained.

In order to implement the approximately $93,000 that will be received, the Office of Justice and Peace will distribute an interim report form to all parishes which received a grant from the Fuel and Hunger Fund earlier this year which will be due back on August 17.

The additional funds will be allocated to these parishes based on an evaluation of how they spent the money to date and their need for additional funds. A second round of funds will be distributed to Fiscal Year 2012 grantees by September 7.

“The generosity of parishioners in our Diocese is overwhelming, and we can’t say thank you enough for helping us to continue offering these services,” said Jay Brown, director of the Office of Justice and Peace.

“The parish ministries that provide these services really are a remarkable testament to the Gospel taking root in the hearts of our parishioners, and to our Church’s commitment to show love to people who are suffering,” he added.

“I am grateful for the consideration that so many of our parishioners have shown through their annual partnership in the Appeal,” Bishop DiLorenzo said. “Because of their generosity, we will continue the necessary support of our retired priests and ensure that those in need of food and shelter assistance will not be turned away.

“These are just two ways the Annual Appeal has an impact on the lives of thousands of people in our Diocese,” the Bishop added.

With the 2012 Appeal set to kick off in the Fall, the Diocese is looking forward to again supporting ministries such as retired priests and the Fuel and Hunger Fund.

For more information on the entire Case for Support of the upcoming 2012 Annual Diocesan Appeal, please visit www.richmonddiocese.org/appeal.

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