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A Beautiful Witness

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The generosity of thousands of Catholics within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to the Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA) did not falter amid the difficulties brought on by COVID-19. And Matt Reinkemeyer, director of development operations with the archdiocesan stewardship department, doesn’t see that generosity wavering as the 2021 campaign kicks off.

More than 25,000 families within the archdiocese, which encompasses more than 200 parishes in 19 counties, pledged
$5.28 million to the 2020 campaign, with $5.21 million collected as of mid-December. That’s 1,000 more families who contributed this year’s campaign.

“We continue to be amazed and humbled by the generosity of so many people,” Reinkemeyer said. “We had more than $1 million come in after the pandemic hit, and we actually ended up going over our goal this past year.”

He believes people’s compassion for the community and dedication to the Church will transcend the hardships of the pandemic. “History has shown that our families continue to be generous in whatever way they can,” said Reinkemeyer. And while it’s difficult to predict how the community will respond in 2021, “we remain hopeful,” he said.

The CMA assists thousands of families across Western and Southwestern Ohio from the contributions received during this annual fundraising campaign. “I’m grateful that so many people supported the CMA despite the struggles of this past year,” he said. “I’m also grateful on behalf of the ministries supported by the CMA. They are all dealing with the realities of COVID as well, and have been seeing an increased need for their services.”

The CMA supports six ministries within the archdiocese: the Center for the New Evangelization; St. Rita School for the Deaf; retired archdiocesan priests and senior clergy; campus, hospital and prison ministries; Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio; Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology and religious vocations. These ministries embody the beautiful witness of the Catholic Church in the community.

The Center for the New Evangelization receives seven percent of the CMA funds to help serve parish leaders involved in evangelization. The Center also serves college campus ministry, young adults, those preparing for marriage and the Hispanic community – among many others.

“The funding received is invested back into the parish community,” said CNE director Sean Ater. “We work to form, support and train parish leaders for local evangelization efforts. Our work directly helps parishes share the Gospel and form disciples across the archdiocese.”

Ater continued, “We provide direct ministry to young adults in college, in the discerning years before marriage and in preparing them for marriage and family life. We also serve the growing Hispanic community both by working with parishes with a large Hispanic population and by direct ministry.”

The CMA also supports Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio (CCSWO), which serves more than 43,000 of the most vulnerable in 11 Ohio counties. The funding is “a vital way for parishioners to live out our communion as a community of disciples in the local Church,” said Dan Sarell, CCSWO’s director of mission advancement.

But beyond the monetary support the appeal provides – which sustains CCSWO’s works of mercy, like food pantries – Sarell said “the CMA builds the life of solidarity among parishes.”

“The annual campaign makes our universal call to holiness and to service real in the form of effective, real solutions that address the complex conditions of poverty, mental health, migration and parenting,” Sarell said.

To donate or learn more about the CMA, click here.

This article appeared in the February 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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