Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Archbishop's Appeal: Where does the money go?

On January 3, 2008 I (like hundreds of others) received a letter from Archbishop Wuerl regarding The Annual Archbishop's Appeal.

I opened it and examined the contents: the letter, the brochure and the return envelope.

The focus of the brochure is of course on who is giving and where is the money going. In this case, it highlights the University of Maryland Catholic ministry and Project Rachael -- both good programs. It also highlights two families who are contributors to the Appeal.

Then it suddenly struck me: nowhere does it say where all of the money is going exactly. It talks in generalities. Millions of dollars each year is given but where it goes, who knows.

Now, let me say this right here and right now: I do not think that the money is being spent on lavish parties, hobnobbing with the Hollywood crowd or massive stone monuments to the Archbishop. However, I would like to know who is getting the money. If I am giving, then I and all Catholics in the Archdiocese should know where it is going. A complete list would be nice. Don't you think?

So, off I went to the website. Low and behold, it gave me the same high level information that it gave in the brochure. It tells me the category of support, such as education or special ministries, and then lists a couple of the specific organizations. It does not give the entire list, nor does it tell the amount each received.

What I did notice right off the bat, in both the printed and on-line versions: How much each parish is assessed down to the last penny. I really can't tell you how Holy Redeemer in DC is assessed $10,292.30. But, it is important to know how much you are going to have to pony-up, including the thirty cents (for those in Holy Redeemer).

So, I asked a good buddy to request the complete list (exactly whom did the money go to) from the person listed on the website. So, he did and a reply was received that it would be forthcoming on the website in a couple of days. So, he checks every day.

And a week later, still no answer. But he notices that there is a new person in charge of the Appeal.

Not certain if the person was fired, quit or moved to another position, he sends an email to the new person. A reply was given that she would attempt to get a complete list and that she was compiling it. It seems that there is no list -- at least one that is made available to Catholics.

That was two weeks ago.

Still no list.

I will keep you posted but I am not holding my breath.


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