By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
So far, 66 of the 74 parishes in the Diocese of Davenport have met or exceeded their Annual Diocesan Appeal goal for the current 2020-21 campaign, said Michael Hoffman, diocesan director of development.
The average gift for the 2020-21 ADA is 5.3% higher than the year before. This year’s goal is $3,117,864. “Currently we are 97% of the pledged amount of the previous year’s campaign (2019-2020). We are very happy with that number,” Hoffman said. Despite the pandemic, “we thought we would go ahead with the 2020-21 campaign because the funds raised do so much good throughout the diocese and each parish.”
More than 20 initiatives are benefiting from donations that parishioners make. In addition, parishes receive 100 percent of the funds that exceed their campaign goal, Hoffman said. The 2019-2020 campaign year “was an excellent year for the ADA and, given the challenges of the pandemic during the current 2020-2021 campaign, it is looking like we will have a great ADA. However, we can’t do it without the participation of the majority of our diocese.”
The diocese understands the challenges parishioners have faced because of the pandemic, which began in March 2020. “We appreciate those who were able to make a pledge and in many situations, those same contributors made an extra pledge/payment to assist the parish for individuals who were not able to participate in the current campaign. We are very thankful for their continued support.”
Bishop Thomas Zinkula said, “I have been pleasantly surprised by the generosity of the people of the diocese in the midst of a pandemic. Their support of the ADA demonstrates their deep commitment to the mission of our diocesan church. They are a witness to me of unwavering faith, hope and love.”
Jake Jacks painted a picture of St. Teresa of Avila for the ADA theme of “Christ has no Body but Yours.” He does commissioned drawings and paintings on the side from his job in marketing. The theme reflects the people of the diocese, who make up the body of Christ, Hoffman said.
Both St. Mary Parish in Oskaloosa and St. Mary Parish in Pella have a history of meeting and exceeding their ADA goals, said Pastor Troy Richmond. This year, the Pella parish has received around $6,000 in pledges in excess of goal and the Oskaloosa parish has surpassed its goal by about $13,000 in pledges.
Last fall, members of the Pella parish’s finance council called parishioners who had not yet fully paid their pledges. “The phone calls were profitable,” Father Richmond said. “This past fall, I was somewhat concerned that the pandemic would affect our being able to do as well as we had done in the past with the ADA, but I believe our live streaming of Masses helped keep parishioners connected and aware of the need. The funds raised by both parishes in excess of their ADA goals are budgeted as income but are not designated for specific projects or needs in the parishes.”
“I think a key component of a successful ADA campaign is bringing it close to home. While the parishes I serve may be far from Davenport, there are so many ways the ADA supports our ministries,” Father Richmond said. Examples are deacon formation, assistance from the Faith Formation Office and services provided by the Marriage Tribunal. “There are many ways our support of the ADA helps support the faithful in all corners of the diocese.”
St. Mary Parish in Grinnell exceeded its ADA goal by nearly $13,000, said the parish’s former pastor, Father Ross Epping, who now serves as chaplain at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. The Grinnell parish has $62,290.55 pledged to the 20-21 ADA. Its goal was $49,351.
“I was unsure as to what the response would be due to the pandemic,” he said. “There are many of us, many of our people, who have been severely financially impacted by the pandemic, and I did not know how that would translate to the diocese asking for money again this year. In typical St. Mary fashion, the people showed up, were incredibly generous, and they ended up pledging $5,000 more than they did last year.”
“With the uncertainty in mind, what I did was spend every weekend Mass for about two months quickly explaining one component of what our ADA money goes towards. One weekend it would be vocations, the next weekend it would be assistance towards Bishop (Thomas) Zinkula’s ability to travel throughout the diocese and grant sacraments, the next it would be priest aid. I wanted the people of St. Mary to know what they were giving their money for,” Father Epping said. “Once our people knew what their money was going towards and being spent on, they could decide if it was worth it. As is turns out, the people of St. Mary found that the ADA is, indeed, worth it.”
In recent years when the parish has exceeded its goal, money went into the bank to help with the following year’s ADA. “Now that I am no longer pastor of St. Mary, that decision is left in the very capable hands of Father Scott (Foley, pastor) and his finance council.”
At St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, Father Joseph Sia, pastor, said the parish’s goal was $99,045 and parishioners have pledged $114,069. “I personally announced it at Masses during the kickoff weekend and the following weekend. I explained its purpose and how it benefits not only the chancery, but the parish as well.” He also ran parish bulletin announcements for a few weeks.
When the current ADA campaign began last fall, Father Sia was concerned about his parish reaching its goal since “our offertory revenues were down significantly compared to the previous year.” The parish came through. The funds returned from exceeding its goal will go toward projects and events related to the parish’s 150th anniversary jubilee, which kicks off Nov. 28.
“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to our parishioners for their strong support of the ADA this past year. I look forward to continuing to promote the ADA among all parishioners, so that we may continue to perform well in the years ahead,” Father Sia said.
To contribute to the ADA go to the diocesan page https://tinyurl.com/tnyv9z7z. For more information on the Annual Diocesan Appeal, contact Hoffman at email@example.com or call (563) 888-4252.