By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PLATTSBURGH — As summer turns to fall in the North Country, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg turns to the public for generosity.
Last weekend, parishes across the diocese kicked off the 2012 Bishop’s Fund Appeal in an effort to raise money to support the diocese’s many ministries.
The annual appeal asks the public for donations, which will be used by the ministries to meet the social and educational needs of members.
“A gift to the Bishop’s Fund will help to provide financial assistance to the vital ministries of the Diocese of Ogdensburg,” said Valerie Mathews, director of the fund.
“These are ministries that no one parish can provide on their own.”
One such ministry is the Good Samaritan Fund, which, Mathews said, helps people in their time of need, whether they have a sick child or have lost their home to natural disaster.
Last year, for example, the Good Samaritan Fund aided families in the AuSable Forks area whose homes were damaged by floodwaters.
The ministry also provides for numerous food pantries throughout the diocese, according to Mathews.
“It just helps people get through another day,” she said.
Money given to the Bishop’s Fund also supports the diocese’s Guggenheim Center, a youth camp in Saranac Lake.
The center hosts weeklong, faith-centered sessions for teens in the summer, as well as weekend retreats for families throughout the year.
“Families come together and learn how to build their families and build their marriages,” Mathews said.
Other ministries supported by the Bishop’s Fund include the diocese’s Family Life, Natural Family Planning and Vocation offices; Education of Seminarians; Respect Life Ministry; Office of Evangelization; Continuing Education and Formation of Priests; Priest’s Graduate Studies; Permanent Deacons; Deacon Formation; Department of Christian Formation; Diocesan Center of Youth Ministry; Young Adult Ministry; and Department of Worship; as well as the Formation for Ministry, Tuition Assistance and Campus Ministry programs.
“The Bishop’s Fund gift has never been solely a financial gift; instead it is a resounding testimony of the generous faith, hope and love of our great diocese,” said newly ordained, the Rev. Thomas Higman of Malone in a statement that appears in a promotional brochure for the fund.
“It will be my greatest joy as a priest to nourish these virtues in the faith of the diocese through the celebration of the sacraments and the proclamation of the Gospel.”
The diocese hopes to raise $1.25 million for the fund this year, a goal that it was able to reach last year, according to Mathews.
“It touches every life in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, whether it be socially or educationally,” she said.
Donations will be accepted until the end of June 2013 and can be made online by credit card at dioogdensburg.org/development.
Checks made payable to the “Bishop’s Fund Appeal” may also be dropped off at any of the diocese’s parishes or mailed to: Bishop’s Fund Appeal, P.O. Box 150, Ogdensburg, NY 13669.
In addition, Mathews said, some companies will match the donations of their employees through the fund’s Matching Gift Program for Catholic Schools, in which donors can chose a Catholic school in their area to make a contribution to.
For more information about the Diocese of Ogdensburg and the 2012 Bishop’s Fund Appeal, visit dioogdensburg.org.
Email Ashleigh Livingston: email@example.com