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February 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
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Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, encouraged priests, staff members and volunteers who will work on the annual appeal to tell people what the Church is doing.
ALBERT C. PACCIORINI/THE CATHOLIC VOICE

Bishop's Appeal provides way to hand on Catholic faith

The Bishop's Appeal, the annual fundraising effort to assist Catholic services in the Diocese of Oakland, is a way to hand on the Catholic faith, and keep the doors of our churches and schools open.

It's a way to "hand on our faith to the next generation," said Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, the evening of Jan. 31. The bishop spoke to priests, staff members and volunteers at a kick-off event at the Cathedral Event Center in Oakland, where they learned the mechanics of making the appeal work. Parishioners should be hearing about the 2017 appeal from now through March, via mailings, The Catholic Voice, parish bulletins and in the churches.

"I know the last thing you want to do is ask for money," Bishop Barber said. "But you need to do it."

More than two dozen ministries and programs in the Diocese of Oakland depend on the support of generous donors to the appeal.

The appeal has a 2017 goal of raising $2.5 million, the same as 2016, said Philip Toups, interim director of the Office of Mission Advancement. The goal has been the same in every year since 2013, and was met in 2013 and 2014. The appeal was rolled into the diocesan Capital Campaign in 2015. Last year, it raised about $2.3 million.

Each parish has a goal, and those remain the same as 2016, Toups said.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the bishop said, early Christians brought their food and belongings to the apostles and everyone shared what God had given them.

It created a chain reaction that carried the faith through generations.

"Talk about what the Church is doing," Bishop Barber said. Teachers need to be taught Catholic education, marriage preparation teachers must be taught, there must be money to provide for seminarian education, priest retirement, small infrastructure items and social services.

If a pastor needs to build a new hall or an adoration chapel, if a legal problem comes up when someone slips and falls on your church property, the diocese helps provide those funds and that expertise so every parish doesn't have to do it on its own, he said.

"That's why we're here. To hand on the love and faith of Jesus Christ," he said.

We're the first diocese in which half the parishes are hosting refugee families, he continued. We're one of the first to plan and begin building a halfway house for minor victims of human trafficking. Half the children in our schools are out doing Christian service, he said.

"I am so very, very grateful you care enough to support our diocese," he said.

Nationally, dioceses similar in size to Oakland raise $5 million in their annual appeals, about double what Oakland raises. Also, only about 9 percent of registered parishioners in the East Bay give to the appeal, compared to 21 percent nationally.

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