How'd They Do It?
Bishop Gerald Kicanas is named Whispers Winner of the Week.
During "Amen Sunday" services this weekend thanking parishioners for their donations, parish priests will announce that the annual fund-raiser had collected $3.6 million in pledges by the time it ended Friday. That's the most the campaign has ever raised. The goal was $3.1 million.
The appeal funds 23 Catholic charities and ministries, including a seminarian-education fund, a lay-ministry training and formation program, the diocese's Marriage Tribunal and Catholic schools administrative offices, as well as the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic, which gives medical care to people without health insurance.
"I think the parishioners feel good about this bishop [Kicanas]. He has an ability to communicate more broadly, and a level of trust is developing," said Thomas Q. Smith, director of the local appeal. "He's very visible in the parishes, so people like him for that, and he speaks about transparency a lot."
Thirty-five percent of Catholics in the diocese donated this year — a significant increase from prior years. The figure also is higher than the national average of 29 percent reported by a study released in April by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The study's numbers were based on percentages from 2005. Last year, the rate of participation in the local appeal was 32 percent.The Diocese of Phoenix, which has about 478,000 Catholics and a wealthier population, so far has a 29 percent participation rate in its annual appeal, which ends July 10 and has a goal of $10.2 million.