By RENEE WEBB
When it comes to the work in the Diocese of Sioux City, all efforts point in one direction – up.
Be it pastoral, educational or outreach, the goal of diocesan programs, ministries and offices are to get people to heaven. Each year parishioners of the diocese are invited to support these efforts by participating in the Diocesan Annual Appeal.
According to Kristie Arlt, diocesan director of communications and development, DAA kicks off the second weekend in September each year.
“This year it is Sept. 9 and 10. Pastors will talk about DAA at Masses that weekend and the importance of parishioners supporting DAA,” she said.
The 2017 diocesan goal is the same as it has been for the last several years – $1.65 million.
In the week that follows the kickoff weekend, Arlt noted, each registered household will receive a letter and case statement in the mail that offers greater details as to which diocesan offices and ministries receive DAA dollars.
“Donors are conscience givers and they want to know exactly where their money is going,” she said.
Diane Donnelly, diocesan director of finance, pointed out that an estimated 43 percent is returned to parishes if they exceed their designation for the diocesan financial support. These paybacks can be used for parish programs.
Along with the diocesan financial support, parishes each receive an individual parish goal.
“Some parishes reach their diocesan financial support and others struggle to do that,” Arlt noted. “However, once a parish meets their goal, 100 percent of the funds collected over the diocesan-support level are returned directly to the parish for their individual needs. Some parishes choose to use DAA as their one annual fundraiser.”
Arlt acknowledged they saw a decrease in DAA giving last year, which is believed to have come on the heels of Ministry 2025: Diocesan Pastoral Planning that was announced in February of 2016. Teamworks, the consulting team that worked with the diocese in its pastoral planning, had warned the diocese that the appeal might be down.
“It’s understandable that people are upset. Change is really hard, but the goal is to come together as a church to be stronger. That is definitely a goal of Ministry 2025,” she said.
Given the closure of some parishes and the realignment of others, Donnelly said it required extra work in the establishment of goals. She explained the goals and diocesan financial support are based on the net parish ordinary income.
“For 2017, the ordinary income for oratories and worship sites was added to the ordinary income of the assuming parishes,” Donnelly said. “Furthermore, the limits established by the priest DAA committee remain in place. The maximum increase for a parish is 7.5 percent for both goals and diocesan financial support.”
This year’s DAA theme – The Church is Always in Need of Renewal – was held over from last year as it fittingly ties in with the diocesan focus on revitalization and renewal through pastoral planning.
While Arlt is uncertain if Ministry 2025 will negatively impact DAA this year, she hopes parishioners will realize the importance of continuing to support the appeal.
“Each year, DAA helps support all of the ongoing ministries of the church that provides educational, pastoral, charitable outreach and much more for parishioners of the diocese,” she said.
Some parishioners, Arlt noted, may not realize how far-reaching DAA dollars go. To highlight the point, she provided several examples. For instance, DAA provides $100,000 to Catholic Charities that serve thousands of clients throughout the diocese every year. More than 7,600 students participated in parish religious education programs that range from Totus Tuus to the Diocesan Youth Conference. DAA funds are used to help with seminarian education, VIRTUS safe environment training, marriage prep, Catholic school tuition assistance through the Bishop’s Education Fund – just to name of few ways DAA funds are used.
“DAA dollars do help support each parish and now, more than ever, we need the help of parishioners during this change,” she said. “We encourage people to give what they can, pray for the success of the DAA campaign and pray for Ministry 2025.”
While the majority of parishioners choose to turn in their gifts at church, they can opt to make their donation online at scdiocese.org/daa. Pledges are accepted.