The Diocese of Venice's Catholic Faith Appeal

The Mission of Our Church Goes On

Fr Russell on the CFA…

At St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, we joyfully proclaim that “Everyone is welcome… and we are alive in the Spirit!” Being alive in the Spirit involves our commitment and conviction in word and action. It is about our endeavor to discipleship and stewardship: giving to God glory by sharing God’s blessings of our talent, time, and treasure. As we grow in numbers at St. Elizabeth Seton, we need your talent and time in committing to the various ministries available and those ministries that will be required as we discern the needs of both our parish and our neighborhood and community. Also, part of our expansion requires treasure to assure that we have the materials and resources as we evangelize and witness to Christ Jesus’ Gospel message.

By committing and participating in the Catholic Faith Appeal, we not only assist our parish’s needs but the entire diocese. The diocese is one way in which St. Elizabeth Seton “reaches outside the peripheries,” being Christ to those who are abandoned and forgotten by family members and society. Please pray and consider what your talent, time, and treasure can contribute in our and the Diocese of Venice’s discipleship and stewardship.

Grace and Peace, Fr. Russell

Overview

What is the Catholic Faith Appeal and for what are its proceeds used? The Catholic Faith Appeal (CFA) is a Diocesan-wide fundraising effort to support programs such as: Pastoral Outreach & Ministries; missions, poor parishes and convents; Catholic Charities; Evangelization; Worship; Respect Life; Peace & Social Justice; Vocations & Seminarians; Catholic Education; Diocesan administrative support services; etc. On an annual basis, parishes in the Diocese of Venice make a required contribution to financially support these efforts. The Catholic Faith Appeal is a means by which all parishioners can take part in helping their parish to meet its contribution. A parish Catholic Faith Appeal goal is determined by the income of the parish and is not based on the number of registered families because our population grows in the winter months from northern visitors. They greatly add to the success of the Appeal.

How does the CFA benefit my parish and me? Thousands of Catholics in the Diocese are directly or indirectly served through Diocesan agencies and programs funded through the Catholic Faith Appeal. In addition, a portion of the money that is pledged over goal will be returned to your parish for its own programs and services.

Why does Catholic Charities do additional fundraising? Approximately 15% of the Diocesan budget is given to Catholic Charities to help support its very worthwhile presence in our Diocese. However, this amount is only a percentage of the money needed to carry out its work. In addition to what the Diocese is able to provide, further fundraising is required.

Why are the administrative services included? The mission of the Church is to continue the work of Christ. To do so requires the Diocese to oversee more than 1000 employees in our schools, parishes and agencies. A commercial business would produce an income, but in the Church the parishioners are the primary source of income.

Why are there so many mailings? More than 3.5 million dollars of the appeal comes to us through the mailings. Once you have responded to a CFA mailing or made a gift through your parish, mailings to you will stop with the exception of a thank you letter and tax receipt at the end of the year. Tax receipts are sent to anyone who gives a gift of $250 or more, which is required by the IRS. It is always wise to keep receipts of your charitable giving for audit purposes.

How much should I give? As stewards, we should take the time to reflect on our God-given gifts of time, talent and treasure. Giving back to God, either through contributions to our parish or the CFA, should involve a sacrifice, one that reflects God’s generosity to us individually. Therefore, your gift is a personal decision between you and God, and should be made after prayerful consideration.

Should I make a pledge or a one-time gift? Making a pledge allows you to spread your gift throughout the year, which may make it easier for you to pay, and may also allow you to give a larger gift. Pledge statements are sent out monthly unless otherwise requested. These are simply reminders and not bills. You can pay your pledge anytime before the end of the year. If your situation changes, you may also adjust your pledge.

How can I make my gift? We try to make your giving as easy as possible! You can make a gift through checks, credit cards, stocks, direct debit, bequests, charitable gift annuities, matching gift program, online giving by clicking here and with approved gifts of real estate. Give us a call and we will happily answer your questions (941-486-4719).

It is rarely my policy as to dictate how one should live and what one should do.

Rather, my ordained priesthood is expressed by challenging others after first doing so with myself. Therefore, I will not tell anyone the reasons she/he should commit to the Catholic Faith Appeal (CFA), but rather, I will share the reasons as to WHY and HOW I believe I should commit. My primary reason is that the CFA extends me an oportunity to live more fully my Roman Catholic Faith in action. During the Lenten season, we of the Roman Catholic Faith Tradition closely examine our lives as baptized into the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church), promising in Baptism (and affirming in the Sacrament of Confirmation) that we are renewed in the life of Jesus as the Christ. We promise to share in His prophetic, priestly, and kingly roles as we continue His mission and ministry by the power and guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

As a former lay minister and instructor in the Diocese of Venice, I personally have witnessed the various important ways that Catholic Charities; the Peace and Social Justice Office; and the Religious Education Office (only to name a few) have rebuilt lives by supporting ALL people of different religions, beliefs, ethnicities, and cultural and financial backgrounds. As all the ministries and services collectively strive to do, the spirit, mind, and body are cared for and nourished. That is, the whole person’s dignity and respect as God’s child is provided and opportunity to assure or to regain that dignity and respect ordained and given by God.

As a former seminarian and present ordained priest, I value the education and formation of our seminarians; the Worship Office; and Mass on television for the Homebound, realizing that we must provide our people their spiritual needs now and in the future. And that as people lose their way and feel abandoned by the Church, society, and/or their families, that we provide priests, religious sisters and brothers, and lay ministers to make present the compassionate and encouraging words and actions of Jesus by evangelization, outreach to the imprisoned, and welcoming those marginalized by society.

The Church is called to be the Christ who is present and supportive at all stages and times of our lives, from the unborn child, our children and youth, those preparing to enter the Sacrament of Marriage, those planning to have families, in our advanced years, to that time when we see the Lord face-to-face. My participation in the CFA is one means in which I can contribute in the Church’s commitment to Jesus’ mission and ministry that God’s Kingdom is at hand and that the acceptable time is now! These are the reasons that I attempt to self-donate my talent, time, and treasure.

Hurricane Irma’s impact upon me was not merely its devastation upon St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church and School. It was its aftermath: Catholic Charities’ concerted efforts to provide material and emotional aid to our parishioners and neighborhood; the Hispanic Apostolate; the Catholic Schools Department; and the Catholic Center provided assistance that saved us time and resources. I grew in my appreciation of the CFA’s importance because our Diocese was able to be actively present.

And so, I suggest that our challenge is neither a goal nor a dollar amount. Our goal is to become more committed and convicted of our Baptismal promises and discipleship to Christ Jesus, realizing that the CFA provides us as a Diocese to This is not a challenge for some or the few. It is a daily challenge. It is a challenge that invites us to ask, “HOW can I share my talent, time, and treasure? How is Christ calling me to live as prophet, priest, and king?” May you and I take this into our Lenten desert as we grow personally and communally in our relationship with the Christ who saves because He loves.

Yours in Christ Jesus’ service,
Fr. Russell