By Thandiwe Konguavi
Staff Writer

It’s hard to keep a good donor down.

Despite a slump in the economy, layoffs and tight finances in 2016, people in the Archdiocese of Edmonton responded generously to the annual Together We Serve appeal, giving a total $2,022,052 and surpassing the target of $2 million.

“It seems like people have remained generous to the Church and generous to Together We Serve and they are giving in their faith, so that’s been very fortunate for us because we do know that other charities have had trouble,” said Connie Lunde, director of development for the archdiocese.

 

The theme for the 2017 Together We Serve appeal is Live the Word, inspired by the simple conditions Pope Francis set in order to follow Jesus: Listen to the word of God, and put it into practice.

The campaign supports 11 charities, including Catholic Social Services, Development and Peace, St. Joseph Seminary, St. Joseph’s College and Newman Theological College.

“When you look at each one of them, what they do, they’re all making a big difference in the world,” said Lunde. “The way we can support them is financially, but when we do that we actually are part of them doing that work in the world.”

 

Sacred Heart Parish in Wetaskiwin raised $24,467.75 for Together We Serve last year, surpassing its target of $17,000, despite the economic conditions.

“Sometimes it hurts our pocket but we know that it’s going to the future of the Church, especially if it’s for the salvation of souls, promoting the kingdom,” said Rev. Nilo Macapinla, the pastor at Sacred Heart. “They are planting the seeds for the Church to grow. It’s our pleasure to promote the kingdom of God.”

In Edmonton, St. Theresa and Corpus Christi parishes raised $110,639.45 together. St. Theresa’s had three second collections in a single month, including a special bishop’s appeal for Syria.

“Three in a row, that’s risky business,” said Rev. Jim Corrigan of St. Theresa’s Parish. “That’s where people are going to finally get ticked off and say, ‘Oh he wants money again.’ But the other thing I could say is we consider ourselves a stewardship parish.”

Both parishes also raised money during 2016 to support the families of Fort McMurray after the wildfires, Syrian refugees, and church building projects.

In 2016, administration costs for Together We Serve were reduced to 9.2 per cent, meaning a greater proportion of the funds collected could be directed to the charitable partners supported by the appeal.

This year for the first time, individual parishes will keep 100 per cent of whatever they raise beyond their Together We Serve targets, for use in their own charitable or parish initiatives. In previous years, the parishes kept 75 per cent.

For more information on Together We Serve, or to make a gift directly online, visit http://www.caedm.ca/WeServe