The Archdiocese of Mobile kicked off its 88th annual Catholic Charities Appeal (CCA) this month. The program was created by the late Archbishop Thomas J. Toolen in 1931, and since has grown to fund more than 30 ministries and serve nearly 31,000 individuals throughout the community.
At a news conference last week, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi noted as Alabama is the sixth-poorest state in the U.S., the appeal strives to help individuals who are struggling with personal and financial difficulties.
This year the CCA set a fundraising goal of $4.5 million. Suggested gifts start at $20 a month and a basic pledge is $48 monthly. However, Rodi said, “anyone who would like to give a donation, we are happy to accept it. No donation is too small or too large.”
A majority of contributions go toward programs supporting a wide variety of causes including Catholic Social Services, outreach ministries, student financial and spiritual needs, the elderly, the disabled and crisis pregnancies. Each of these programs look to provide for the mental, physical and spiritual needs of those in the community.
Catholic Social Services takes pride in programs it offers to help accommodate those in need.
“One of the things that sets us apart, every program we have does home visits and for us that’s the way that we build our authentic relationships with the people that Jesus sends to us,” said Executive Director of Social Services Marilyn King.
Although Catholic Social Services is a Catholic organization, roughly 90 percent of those they serve are not. No matter the person’s religious affiliation or background, Catholic Social Services is there to lend a helping hand.
“Anyone who comes to us, we are happy to help,” Rodi said. But if the organization is unable, they are more than willing to assist in finding an agency able to do so.
Other outreach ministries benefiting from the CCA include St. Mary’s home, Apostleship of the Sea and Prison Ministry. The archdiocese reaches out to each of these ministries in order to provide ministerial and social services to those in need.
The appeal also provides substantial funding for pregnant women seeking education and assistance, immigrants facing legal issues and FOCUS, a fellowship for college students looking to further their relationship with God.
“We forget just how much poverty exists in our community,” Rodi said. “Sometimes we just don’t see it and there are people who are in really desperate need of hope — that they’re not forgotten, that someone cares and is there to help them when they’re getting to a difficult point.”
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