Together We Serve is an annual appeal in the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. It was launched in 2014 to simplify giving by combining recurring special collections in parishes (sometimes called “second collections”) and inviting Catholics to work together to serve those in need at home, in Canada, and abroad. Together We Serve shows both Catholics and those around us that we are all one Church, acting together to advance the Mission given to us by Jesus Christ.
Catholics are obligated to “assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his or her own ability” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2043). That is why every parish has a regular collection during Sunday Mass, a portion of which goes to support the Pastoral and Administration Office of the Local Church (Archdiocese). At both the parish and Archdiocesan levels, these funds pay for salaries, facilities, contracted services and other material needs of the Church. Together We Serve is a unique opportunity for all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Edmonton to work together to support our fellow workers in the vineyard, by giving generously and joyfully to Catholic causes that are outside the immediate needs of our parishes and Pastoral Office. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the churches in Macedonia and Achaia: I can guarantee that they were willing to give to the limit of their means, yes and beyond their means, without the slightest urging from me or anyone else. In fact, they simply begged us to accept their gifts and so let them share the honour of supporting their brothers and sisters in Christ. (2 Cor 8:2-4)
The original Together We Serve goal in 2014 was determined by looking at overall giving to special collections over the previous five years (2008-2013) and then calculating a 5-year average. When Catholic Social Services Sign of Hope was added to Together We Serve in 2015, the goal was increased by the 5-year average of parish giving to the Sign of Hope special collection. In 2016, the Together We Serve goal was increased again, by 3% to $2 million, and has not changed until this year (see Question 6).
The original Parish Targets were determined by looking at parish giving to special collections over the previous five years (2008-2013) and then calculating a 5-year average for each parish. Parish Targets increased with increases to the overall Together We Serve goal (see Question 3) and have not changed since 2016.
Not surprisingly, overall giving has been affected by the significant challenges faced by our parishes and parishioners in 2020-2021. Nevertheless, many Catholics continue to give to both their parishes and to Together We Serve. In each of 2020 and 2021, Together We Serve achieved approximately 65% of its target. We recognize that it will take time to return to former giving levels in most parishes. The 2022 Together We Serve goal has been reduced in response to this reality (see Question 6).
The campaign goal for 2022 is $1.5 million.
Parish targets have been adjusted to reflect the lower overall campaign goal and other factors, including pre-pandemic trends (e.g. stability, significant variance, year-over-year decreases since 2014) and increases/decreases in parish membership since 2014. For example, some parishes have closed since 2014 and their members have joined other nearby parishes.
Any parish that exceeds its target will receive 100% of excess funds back as a Parish Share rebate. But Parish Share is much more than a rebate cheque. It is an opportunity for your parish to raise money for its own building fund, charitable giving, or other initiatives that are important to parishioners – and to do it without running a separate fundraising campaign. Parishes can also choose to give some or all of their rebate to Together We Serve, 100% of which will be allocated to our beneficiaries. Contact the CAEDM Campaign Team to find out more.