Roxbury’s St. Patrick Parish achieves appeal goal in record time

Less than two weeks after the 2009 Catholic Appeal launched March 7, St. Patrick Parish in Roxbury has more than doubled its Appeal goal.

“This is the fastest a parish has crushed its Appeal goal ever,” said Patrick Gipson, Catholic Appeal Manager.

St. Patrick’s has already collected nearly $30,000 in pledges from over 250 parish families. Its goal this year was $13,500.

“If a parish in Roxbury can see such success in terms of participation, every parish in the archdiocese, in any setting, urban or suburban, can experience similar results if they focus on asking every family to participate,” Gipson said.

According to St. Patrick’s Pastor, Father Walter Waldron, the success in this year’s Appeal was the result of the cooperation among the parish staff and the clergy at the parish as they executed simultaneous campaigns in three languages, English, Spanish and Cape Verdean.

Among the elements that contributed to the success, Father Waldron mentioned that the video homily from Cardinal O’Malley reflected on the day’s reading and connected Scripture to the need for Appeal support.

“Cardinal Sean has an incredible ability to tell stories that people remember,” he said.

Devoting time after the video to go over the pledge process with the congregation “almost line by line” is yet another element to explain the success of the campaign, he said.

“This takes about 10 minutes, and some parishioners require assistance, but this investment of time pays off in terms of additional families participating.”

The Annual Appeal goal for 2009 has been maintained at last year’s level, $15 million, because of expectations that the economic downturn may affect some donors’ ability to contribute; but Father Waldron felt that the economy did not have an impact on his parishioners’ support of the Appeal.

“Part of that might be that historically we spend the month of January encouraging increased generosity to the parish offertory. We stress that support of the Church should not be considered an ‘extra,’ but something that is part of a parishioners’ essential budget, no matter how big or how small.”

Gipson noted that the appeal is off to a good start across the Archdiocese with more Catholics contributing this year at this stage of the campaign.

“We are encouraged so far by the fact that 20,000 Catholics have already made a pledge,” he said.

“Increased participation will be critical to making our goal this year, and we’re off to a good start. We need all Catholics to step forward and help carry on these important ministries. Every gift truly matters.”

“St. Patrick’s true success story is in its participation,” he said.

For Father Waldron, his success should become an inspiration to others.

“Records are meant to be broken. I hope other parishes can learn from what we do here and break this record,” he said.

“Everyone wins when a parish strives to meet its goal and gets parishioners involved as early as possible. Long campaigns can tire everyone out. I hope we hold this record only until next year.”