Appeal campaign receives top honors

BRIGHTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston’s Catholic Appeal campaign recently received first place honors in the 2007 Overall Excellence for Total Annual Appeal Effort category awarded by the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC), announced the archdiocese in an Aug. 27 statement.

“It is a high honor to be selected with a first place award by our peers,” Scot Landry, archdiocesan secretary for advancement, said in the statement.

Each year, the ICSC recognizes member dioceses and parishes that have best promoted the theology of stewardship in 12 categories. The highest honor is overall excellence, which judges appeal campaigns on first impression, clarity of purpose, originality and persuasiveness.

The Archdiocese of Boston tied with the Archdiocese of Chicago for the prize, a first for Boston since the ICSC began presenting the award in 1991. The council received a total of 147 submissions. Boston was also recognized with an honorable mention for the appeal’s brochure. Only first place and honorable mentions are named by the ICSC.

The ICSC was founded in 1962 to promote the concept of Christian stewardship. The organization asserts that more than an appeal for funds, true stewardship is a way of life. The council was originally named the National Council for Diocesan Support Programs, became the National Catholic Stewardship Council, Inc. in 1968 and changed its name to the ICSC in 1999 to reflect its international mission. Since 1965 the organization has hosted annual conferences. The 2006 conference was held in Boston.

In the overall excellence category, the council considered the archdiocese appeal’s brochure, video, poster and outreach letters.

Sue Manterro, coordinator of stewardship for the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., facilitated the award selection process and said that Boston received overall high scores in all categories.

“Beyond the scores, I have to say that we all ‘just loved it,’” she added. “It touched our hearts and there’s no better testament than that.”

Landry attributed the success to the hard work of the many people who contributed to the 2007 appeal effort.

“It started with high quality feedback from our pastors in the pastor’s survey and in comments received from our Pastor’s Advisory Council and Presbyteral Council. The Catholic Foundation’s marketing committee gathered focus groups that allowed us to test and hone our materials. Finally, our staff at The Catholic Foundation put forth an incredible effort this spring to finalize our campaign,” he said.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley also praised the foundation’s staff, a “strong team of committed individuals whose ministry involves encouraging Catholics to support the Church’s mission to spread the Good News across the archdiocese.”

“We congratulate The Catholic Foundation in being recognized by the International Catholic Stewardship Council for its outstanding work. We are proud of their achievements,” he added.

The judges were particularly impressed by the photos used in the appeal’s brochure and photo essay in the video.

Landry attributed that success to the work of George Martell, who was hired as the manager of digital communications and news media for the appeal in December 2006. Martell “embodies the concept of stewardship,” he added.

“George is one of New England’s best photojournalists who sought to put his talent at the service of the Church,” Landry said. “The compelling photos he took over his first few months on the job is a major reason why we were selected.”

“Photos have an ability to tell the story of the Church in a way that words simply can’t express,” said Martell. “It is a privilege to capture the powerful emotions and joy of Catholics receiving the sacraments and living their faith.”

The 2007 appeal, launched in May, has raised $11 million of its $14 million goal so far. More than 43,000 parishioners participated and 45 parishes have already surpassed their goals.

Landry said, “We have more work to do but we are encouraged by the generous response from Catholics throughout our archdiocese thus far.”

For more information on the Catholic Appeal, visit their Web site at