Annual Appeal Delayed
May 21, 2020
DIOCESE—Each spring for the last 45 years, the Diocese of Rockford has conducted an annual appeal to help fund its work in the 11 northern-most counties of Illinois.
This year is an exception. Thanks to the coronavirus and the havoc it has caused to public health and the financial strain it has wreaked on businesses and individuals, the annual appeal has been postponed. 
In addition to the postponement, the overall target of the appeal has been reduced a full 10%. 
“Soon after the closures of schools, businesses and churches, we knew there would be hardship,” said Denise Dobrowolski director of the Office of Charitable Giving whose office conducts the appeal.
“We wanted to be responsive to the hardship being placed on our Catholic faithful as well as our parishes so the decision was made to postpone the kick off of the appeal.  However, we also knew that to continue the work of the Church  the appeal is vital even in hardship,” she continued.
Instead of mailing all the materials highlighting the work made possible from funds from the annual appeal in April, the materials will arrive in people’s homes in late May. 
The kickoff weekend for the “Hear His Voice” themed appeal will be the weekend of June 6-7. The Observer will feature a full four pages of information in its June 5 issue, which will be mailed to every registered Catholic household in the diocese.
The appeal video, usually shown in parishes, will be available on the Diocese of Rockford website, Facebook pages and parish media platforms.
Some may wonder why the appeal wasn’t just forgiven for a year.
“The ministries and work of the diocese and the Church in the U.S. and in the world have continued through this pandemic. In most cases work has even increased with the challenges of distance and closures,” Dobrowolski said.
She cites one of the many examples in which the work of the Church continued and heightened during the “shutdown.” 
Educational services to students in schools, the diaconate program, ministry formation and for seminarians has continued throughout the pandemic.
Catholic Charities has been especially busy during the pandemic responding to those in great need with food distribution, counseling, referrals for additional assistance and providing meals.
All diocesan services to parishes and priests have continued so they may in turn provide spiritual outreach, comfort and online Masses and devotions throughout the stay-at-home order.
Pledges and donations to the appeal will be welcomed at any time, Dobrowolski added. 
In a letter sent to pastors about the appeal Bishop David Malloy wrote, “While we understand there are those unable to support the appeal at this time, there are many that want to do their part. There are so many things that have changed for us as priests and for our parishioners. We are navigating very uncharted waters with, and for, our faith community.  Our diocese has, and will continue to use every resource to help our priests and staffs care for the souls entrusted to us.  And especially in these difficult times, our annual appeal provides a foundation for us to continue that care.”
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