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Many of you read the great news in last week's Pilot that the 2006 Catholic Appeal has raised $13.8 million, an increase of over 15 percent from 2005. Over the past four years, the appeal total has grown by over 55 percent in all. These figures make possible tremendous progress in our archdiocese's capacity to teach, console, counsel, coordinate, heal and collectively live our faith.
As of March 5, there have been 48,219 contributors to the 2006 Catholic Appeal. It's hard to write thank you notes to almost 50,000 contributors, but my staff members and I have done so. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you again for joining with Catholics throughout our Archdiocese to support the mission of the wider Church. Every gift -- regardless of the amount -- matters. Together with Christ, we are helping to move the Catholic Church of Boston forward and to accomplish many good things.
We are all participants in and responsible for supporting the Church's mission, so that Christ's saving love may be more fully experienced. We are all called to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us. Through the Catholic Appeal, these 48,219 parishioners shared some of their financial blessings with their fellow Catholics throughout the archdiocese. Their contributions make possible the work of scores of dedicated professionals who work in over 60 ministries as well as that of thousands of volunteers who share their time and talent in our parishes, schools and agencies. Collectively, all of these Catholics pass on the faith and serve all those who look to the Church for help.
While a great deal of progress has been made over the past four years, there is much more still to be done. Many of our Catholic brothers and sisters have stepped away from financially supporting our Church. Tragically, others have stepped away from our Church all together. Our Catholic family will only be whole when our Catholic brothers and sisters rejoin us in the life of the Church and particularly the weekly thanksgiving meal which is our Sunday Eucharist.
One of the most encouraging statistics that appeared among our 2006 results was that more than 2,000 donors have resumed their support of the appeal after a few years away. Many have said Cardinal SeŠnís efforts to reach out to those hurt by the Church and the archdiocese's transparency initiative were important factors in their return. Others commented that they now believe that the leadership of the archdiocese heard the message of disapproval they were sending in withholding their contributions. They concluded now was the time to turn their focus again to all the beneficiaries of the appeal and fund programs to help them.
During my seven months as secretary for advancement, I have met and worked side-by-side with so many dedicated and committed people who serve in our parishes, schools, hospitals, cemeteries, charitable agencies and the chancery. Each of us is striving to build trust and earn confidence the old fashioned way: by our actions and our service.
On behalf of all those who work for the Church and who are supported by contributions to the Annual Catholic Appeal, I thank you for your participation, your generosity, and your trust. We have great progress to celebrate. Together we can continue moving forward to renew and strengthen our Church.
Scot Landry is Secretary for Advancement and Chief Development Officer of the Archdiocese of Boston.