A Little Delayed But Much Needed
Annual Appeal Under Way by Mail
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
June 4, 2020
DIOCESE—The original date for the Diocesan Annual Appeal was more than a month ago, but the pandemic and its various hardships caused the Office of Charitable Giving to rethink its timing. (See “Annual Appeal Delayed” in the May 22 issue of The Observer.)
This year’s appeal will run from May 2020 to May 2021. Materials have already been sent to Catholic homes throughout the Diocese of Rockford.
It raises funds to support most diocesan offices, which range from accounting to Catholic Charities, from education to the bishop’s own office and its work. 
The theme of the appeal this year is “Hear His Voice.”
Some might wonder why they should support the diocese when the parish is where they are fed with the Catholic faith. The answer is simply that the parishes would not exist without the diocese.
Most obvious is the diocese’s work to provide priests and deacons for parishes.
The diocesan Vocation Office oversees and guides the education and formation for future priests, and otherwise helps men and women who are discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life. 
The Vicar for Clergy and Religious Office, along with other offices such as accounting and education, assist and support active and retired priests as they pastor parishes, provide sacraments, perform administrative duties, support parish schools and otherwise serve the People of God. 
The diocesan Office of the Permanent Diaconate trains and forms future deacons and provides ongoing formation for current ones.
Another well-known ministry is education.
Catholic children, adults and families learn about their faith in schools and religious education programs supported by the Education Office and through the Ministry Formation program and Diocesan Theological Institute, which that office provides. Additionally, the Life and Family Evangelization Office works in support of youth ministry and provides marriage preparation programs.
A variety of less-known services come from diocesan offices as well.
The diocese has an ethicist who teaches ethics to nursing students, classes to Catholics in their own or nearby parishes, and classes for the Ministry Formation and DTI programs. 
There is also the one-person Office for Research and Planning that guides the diocese and parishes with information about, for example, shifting population trends. Parish staffs are assisted by several diocesan offices day to day and by an annual Ministry Day geared just for them.
The diocesan Tribunal assists divorced men and women who wish to become free to remarry in the Church; the Office for Hispanic Ministry oversees and supports ministry efforts serving that population; and odds and ends of other offices keep the entire diocese moving along.
And let’s not forget all the work done through the Bishop’s Office. Confirmations are just the “tip of the iceberg” as the saying goes.
With the many hardships of the coronavirus pandemic in mind, the diocese is sacrificing also, and reduced this year’s appeal target by 10%.
“The Diocese of Rockford provides programs and personnel to help you, as parishioners of the diocese, to hear and follow Jesus whenever he reaches out to you,” says Bishop David Malloy in his appeal letter.
“And now, more than ever we need the support of each other physically, spiritually and financially,” he adds. “Thank you for whatever gifts you are able to make to this year’s Annual Appeal. Together we continue the work of Christ in our ministries as we strive to recover. 
“Be assured of my continued prayers for you and your family and thank you for your support of the diocesan church,” he wrote.


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