Despite the unexpected challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic throughout most of 2020, the Diocese of Harrisburg was able to continue its many ministries and programs on which people depend. Through the generosity of parishioners and parishes across the Diocese’s 15 counties, the 2020 Diocesan Annual Campaign (DAC) supported more than 40 programs that directly benefited people in our communities.
“This past year, 2020, provided its share of challenges, but more importantly, opportunities, to expand our services and outreach to the faithful,” said Bishop Ronald Gainer. “Programs were held virtually, parish and Diocesan staffs relied on technology to continue working remotely, our clergy, religious and seminarians were all able to continue their formation and spiritual growth, our Catholic schools seamlessly transitioned to distance learning as needed, and our parishes were able to reach the faithful by live streaming Masses and other devotions and pastoral programs.”
“Because of your financial support for the Diocesan Annual Campaign (DAC), we were able to assist parishes with evangelization efforts and sacramental preparation via Zoom calls, answer questions related to new engagement platforms like social media and online giving, and provide guidance on setting up Facebook live platforms to share Mass virtually,” he said. “We could not have accomplished so much during the unprecedented challenges of 2020 without the support from our Catholic faithful like you.”
The Diocesan Annual Campaign provides the vast majority of the financial resources needed to operate the Diocesan ministries and programs. The DAC partners with our parishes and the faithful, working together to strengthen the ministries and outreach, and further the mission of Jesus Christ in our Diocese.
In 2020, the DAC supported many ministries and programs, including:
- Vocations support for 23 seminarians studying to be our future priests, and the formation of 35 men who were ordained to the permanent diaconate in September
- Continuing formation programs for our clergy and religious
- Extensive Youth Protection program
- A multitude of evangelization related programs, including Campus Ministry, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Family and Respect Life ministries, ministry with persons with disabilities, evangelization support for parishes, and the many communication-related programs of the Diocese.
- Catholic education of approximately 9,000 students in 35 Diocesan schools and more than 8,000 students in our parish-based Religious Education programs, the Diocesan Institute, the Principals’ Academy, our Autism Certification Program and our Catholic Boy and Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girl programs.
“Despite the challenges of 2020, the Diocese was able to continue the many ministries and programs that our faithful depend upon,” said Kim Roche, Director of the Diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development. “These programs help deepen our faith with virtual evangelization programs and provided critical support to parishes with filing the paperwork associated with the Payroll Protection Program. Our Communications and IT Departments served as content experts to assist parishes with transitioning to new technologies so that parishes could continue to provide spiritual content to their parishioners. The Diocese would not have been able to continue, expand and create new programs without the support from our many generous donors.”
“I am grateful and amazed at the number of donors who increased their support, made their first gift or continued to honor their pledges as the pandemic impacted so many of our faithful,” Roche said. “I am so very grateful to our pastors, parish office staff and volunteers who continued to focus on the DAC and the needs of the Diocese for these funds. “
“A heartfelt ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who supported the 2020 DAC. The Diocese is so very grateful for your support,” she said.
With the 2020 campaign closing on January 31, the Diocese is excited to kick off the 2021 DAC, “Faith Alive,” on February 1.
The 2021 DAC theme expresses the centrality and strength of the faith in our lives, Roche explained.
“As we begin another year of uncertainty, we wanted to convey that some things are still the same and they serve as an anchor or commonality for everyone,” she said. “With faith being central to our lives, it was important to focus on the fact that faith is a core value, and it continues to be vibrant and strong, notwithstanding all the uncertainty in our lives. Our faith is certainly alive in our lives and in our communities, as evidenced by the remarkable people who continue to put their faith into action and serve their communities.”
The goal of the 2021 campaign is $7,386,514. DAC funds support more than 40 programs and ministries throughout the Diocese, including outreach through Catholic Charities programs, support for individual parishes, and the myriad of ministries that serve individuals, couples, youth and families.
“Most importantly, parishes benefit directly from the support that is provided to them from DAC-funded ministries and programs,” Roche said. “Individual parishes simply would not be able to provide these services on their own. It is our collective ability to provide these programs at the parish level that is only possible because of individual donors. While these programs are overseen by the Diocese, they are implemented at the parish level but funded by the faithful, one gift at a time.”
The Diocese has produced an Impact Report, detailing the programs and services supported in 2020. The Impact Report, along with supporting materials for the 2021 campaign, will be posted to the DAC website, www.hbgdiocese.org/dac, in conjunction with the February 1 kickoff next week.
“As we launch the 2021 Diocesan Annual Campaign – Faith Alive, I am inspired by the examples I see throughout the Diocese of a vibrant, living faith,” Bishop Gainer said. “From volunteers who are sanitizing worship spaces, to those who reach out to those in need of a kind word or deed, our faith is indeed alive in our parishes and communities. Through your continued support, the work we have begun will continue to flourish.”
“Please prayerfully consider your gift to the 2021 Diocesan Annual Campaign – Faith Alive, as an expression of your faith and of your gratitude for God’s blessings in your life,” he said.
Donors who wish to make their secure gift to the 2021 DAC online may do so at www.hbgdiocese.org/dac.
Questions on the campaign should be directed to the Office of Stewardship & Development by calling 717-657-4804, ext. 336, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness