FALL RIVER– With its theme of “Feed the Hungry, Shelter the Homeless, Comfort the Sorrowful, In His Name…It’s What We Do,” underscoring its critical mission, the 74th annual Catholic Charities Appeal will take place in parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese from May 1 to June 30.

Proceeds from the Catholic Charities Appeal provide funding for the charitable services and programs sponsored by the Fall River Diocese throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.

The Appeal, for example, supports Catholic Social Services network of regional offices that sponsor emergency shelter and transitional housing, basic needs assistance, food pantries and vouchers, pregnancy and parenting support, foster care, refugee resettlement, advocacy programs for persons with disabilities and for immigrants, and crisis intervention.

Other services and ministries financed by the Catholic Charities Appeal include hospital chaplaincy, campus ministry, marriage preparation, programs for the bereaved, youth and young adult ministry, the Television Mass and more.

In his letter on the Appeal, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., notes that since his coming to the Diocese last fall he has quickly come to see how parishioners follow the Gospel’s call to love one’s neighbor.

‘I am so proud of the many ways we respond with love to the material and spiritual needs in our communities,” he writes.

Acknowledging with gratitude the “extraordinary example of generosity” of donors each year, Bishop da Cunha asks all to prayerfully consider and support the 2015 Catholic Charities Appeal.

The Bishop pointed out that there are many people within the Fall River Diocese who are in need of temporal and spiritual help. It is his hope that the Appeal will not be seen as a burden, “but rather as an opportunity to give thanks, to share our gifts with others, and to serve each other. I pray that we find grace and joy in sharing our resources with those less fortunate.”

The 2014 Catholic Charities Appeal raised $4.2 million, a slight dip from the all-time record set in 2013 of $4.3 million.

According to Diocesan Director of Development Jim Campbell there were 31,000 donors to last year’s Appeal.

“That is an admirable number and we are so thankful,” he said, “But with the participation of additional parishioners in the Appeal, our agencies and service providers could do more to help address the real needs that exist. It’s my hope that more parishioners will consider contributing to the Catholic Charities Appeal along with the many other things they support.”

The Appeal is the one and only time during the year when the Fall River Diocese asks for financial help to fund its charitable agencies and programs, which are open to anyone regardless of creed, race, nationality, gender or economic status. It maintains a low administrative expense ratio: 93 cents of every dollar contributed is directed to the services and programs funded by the Appeal.

Contributions to the Catholic Charities Appeal may be made either through a one-time donation or through a pledge payable over ten months. Donations may be dropped off at any parish in the diocese, made through its website at www.frdioc-catholiccharities.org, or mailed to the Catholic Charities Appeal Office, P.O. Box 1470, Fall River, MA 02722.

Additional information on the Charities Appeal is available on its website or by calling the Appeal Office at 508-675-1311.

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