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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

These most commonly asked questions concerning the Bishop's Appeal. If you have a question, but do not find it below, please call us at (510) 267-8358, or email your question to us.


1. What is the Bishop’s Appeal?

2. How is the 2017 Bishop’s Appeal different from Reclaiming Christ’s Mission Together (RCMT), the diocesan capital campaign?

3. What does the Bishop’s Appeal Fund?

4. How was the Bishop’s Appeal goal of $2.5 million determined? How are parish goals determined?

5. What if my parish goes over goal? Where does the excess go?

6. Does my parish have to pay assessments on my Bishop’s Appeal rebates?

7. What happens if my parish does not meet its established goal?

8. My parish owes money to the Diocese for a loan or emergency, or we fell behind on our regular payments (insurance, etc.). How will the parish rebate be handled if we surpass the goal?

9. Do I have to achieve goal to receive my parish rebate?

10. Will any of these funds be used for items other than the defined case elements?

11. Why are parishioners asked to pledge different amounts? Wouldn’t dividing the appeal goal by the number of households be an easier and fairer method?

12. Why are pledges encouraged, instead of one-time donations?

13. When will pledge redemption begin?

14. How will my parish receive credit for parishioner gifts?

15. Can a parishioner restrict a gift to one or more of the case for support elements?

16. Are any of the funds for the Bishop’s Appeal used to pay for civil lawsuits or judgments?

17. How will parishioners be contacted during the Bishop’s Appeal?

18. What types of gifts will be accepted?

19. How will progress of the Appeal be communicated to the parishes?

1. What is the Bishop’s Appeal?

The total budget for the Diocese of Oakland in 2017 is approximately $17 million, and of that, the budget for diocesan-wide ministries and services is roughly $7 million. While income is generated to support the budget through parish assessments, rent collection on property, service fees and interest on the diocesan investments, the income does not fully meet the budgetary needs for providing all diocesan level ministries, programs and services.

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2. How is the 2017 Bishop’s Appeal different from Reclaiming Christ’s Mission Together (RCMT), the diocesan capital campaign?

RCMT focused on six specific areas: Funds to assist parishes; funds to expand Catholic Charities; religions education leadership training; debt restructure/reduction; tuition assistance endowment fund; and priest retirement. The Annual Bishop’s Appeal funds the day-to-day ministries and services essential to the spiritual, pastoral, educational and human needs of our sisters and brothers throughout the East Bay. Yes, priests’ retirement was part of the capital campaign and is part of the Annual Bishop’s Appeal. This is because there is a significant need to address an underfunded priests’ retirement benefits trust which needs a significant cash infusion. In the campaign it was critical to initiate a tuition assistance endowment fund for students. In the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, we fund urban Catholic schools which would probably close without diocesan subsidy, and these funds are also matched by a grant from a foundation which increases the amount of money which goes to these schools.

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3. What does the Bishop’s Appeal Fund?

The Bishop’s Appeal is a direct appeal to the people of the Diocese, to ask them to make a pledge or a gift to supplement the ministry budget. Without the financial support of our diocesan family through the Bishop’s Appeal, thousands throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and beyond, could not be served. The Bishop’s Appeal is an opportunity for each and every Catholic household to help further the mission of the Church. It is a chance for all parishes and missions of our Diocese to join together in support of the following vital ministries:

Pastoral Ministries & Services

Diocesan pastoral ministries and services focus on strengthening our faith, our families, and building up our parish communities by engaging our people in the daily life of the Church as they strive to live as faithful disciples of Christ.
• Liturgy
• Respect Life & Justice Programs
• Vietnamese, Filipino & Latino Ministries
• Ethnic Pastoral Centers
• Marriage & Family Life
• Marriage Preparation Programs
• Youth Retreat Center
• Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Operations
• Catholic Scouting
• Young Adult Ministries
• Children & Youth Ministries

Religious Education & Formation

Gifts to the appeal help support religious education and formation programs for thousands of youth and adults annually.
• Faith Formation Programs
• Evangelization and Outreach Efforts
• Right of Christian Intitiation of Adults (RCIA)
• Religious Educations Teachers’ Training
• Serra Catechetical Institute
• St. Francis de Sales School for Pastoral Ministry

Clergy Formation & Support

From initial formation into retirement, the Diocese provides support for our priests. Additionally, continued updating and renewal for priests and deacons who faithfully serve our people is supported by your gift to the Bishop’s Appeal.
• Permanent Diaconate Program
• Office of Vocations
• Seminarian Education & Formation
• Priest Retirement & Long-term Care
• Continuing Education Programs

Support for Catholic Schools & Parishes in Need

Each year, the Diocese provides subsidies and grants to assist with operating expenses at our inner-city Catholic schools, and for parishes and their faith communities who are facing extraordinary and immediate financial challenges.
• Operating Subsidies
• Capital Expenditure Grants
• Emergency Funding Support

Safe Environment Programs

Assisting Local Parishes

Every parish has its own needs and plans for growth and new ministries to better serve their parishioners and the local community. The Bishop’s Appeal will again return 100% of all monies collected over each individual parish’s goal for use at the parish level.

 

4. How was the Bishop’s Appeal goal of $2.5 million determined? How are parish goals determined?

There has been steady incremental growth in the success of the Bishop’s Appeal over the last several years. Because of the Capital Campaign, Bishop Barber decided to hold the 2017 goal at the 2016 level. Parish goals are determined by unrestricted parish revenue in a given year.

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5. What if my parish goes over goal? Where does the excess go?

100% of all funds collected over a parish’s goal will be returned directly to parishes for their own special needs in the form of rebate checks paid at the conclusion of the Appeal (i.e. Feb 2018.) The only exception to this rebate process will be for parishes with delinquent diocesan obligations (i.e. parish assessment, package insurance, workers’ compensation, and health benefits.) These parishes will have funds collected over goal credited to these obligations.

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6. Does my parish have to pay assessments on my Bishop’s Appeal rebates?

Bishop’s Appeal rebates are not assessed (taxed) by the Diocese.

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7. What happens if my parish does not meet its established goal?

These goals are simply that – goals, not assessments, however, under the “Good Faith Effort” policy, if it is determined that parish leadership did not make an effort to succeed, the goal amount could be assessed to that parish.

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8. My parish owes money to the Diocese for a loan or emergency, or we fell behind on our regular payments (insurance, etc.). How will the parish rebate be handled if we surpass the goal?

As has always been the case, 100% of funds raised will accrue to the parish in the form of a rebate. The rebate will either take the form of a check (as in the past) or be used to reduce any past due debt to the diocese.

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9. Do I have to achieve goal to receive my parish rebate?

Yes. Since rebates are given for all funds received above goal, your parish must achieve and then exceed goal to receive a rebate. Remember also, the rebate is based on the cash received, not pledges made. The Diocese cannot make payments on pledges, and not all pledges are fully redeemed by all parishioners.

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10. Will any of these funds be used for items other than the defined case elements?

Absolutely NOT. The funds raised through the Bishop’s Appeal will be used exclusively for the listed elements. The Diocese has both a legal and moral obligation to restrict these funds for the stated case items under both canon law and civil law.

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11. Why are parishioners asked to pledge different amounts?Wouldn’t dividing the appeal goal by the number of households be an easier and fairer method?

This Appeal, like all development efforts in the Diocese, is based on the Stewardship principals as articulated in the US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, Stewardship – A Disciple’s Response (USCCB, 1994). That Pastoral teaches that everyone has been gifted by God and thus has a responsibility to use those gifts wisely, including the building-up of the Kingdom. Every gift to the Appeal is important, so we are asking every family in the Diocese to make an equal sacrifice to the campaign not an equal gift. For those who are blessed with much, much is expected, but all are called to sacrifice. The amount of sacrifice will be different for each family. Some families will be able to give more than others, but we ask that the sacrifice be the same and proportional to the capacity of each person/family to give.

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12. Why are pledges encouraged, instead of one-time donations?

Pledges provide parishioners with the opportunity to make a more significant and planned gift to the mission of the Church as opposed to reactionary giving. A contribution is easier to pay off over a period of time rather than immediately, out of pocket. It is important to note that pledges are not legally binding but rather a statement of what the parishioner intends to do. Each parishioner is asked to make a planned, prayerful and sacrificial pledge to the Appeal.

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13. When will pledge redemption begin?

Parishioners who make pledges will receive their first reminder mailing one month after their pledge, and if possible, donors are asked to complete their pledges by December 31st (the end of the calendar year). One-time gifts are also welcome.

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14. How will my parish receive credit for parishioner gifts?

On the direct mail pledge card, a person’s registered parish will be pre-printed. Please encourage your parishioners to double-check their registry on this card when it is received in the mail. Also, for gifts made through the in-pew envelope or the newspaper insert response, a space is provided for a parish listing. It is important that your parishioners indicate which parish should receive credit, and specify the correct city/location of the parish.

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15. Can a parishioner restrict a gift to one or more of the case for support elements?

No, all gifts will be used for the purposes outlined by the diocese as published in the appeal materials.

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16. Are any of the funds for the Bishop’s Appeal used to pay for civil lawsuits or judgments?

No. None of the designated funds from the Bishop’s Appeal can be used for a settlement.

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17. How will parishioners be contacted during the Bishop’s Appeal?

It is intended that each and every Catholic household within the Diocese be presented with the needs of the appeal and learn how their gifts benefit our communities. This will be achieved through a series of mailings, pulpit announcements and preaching, bulletin inserts, and other methods outlined in the manual.

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18. What types of gifts will be accepted?

Traditional gifts via personal checks are accepted, as well as payments made with by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express) or through direct debit with a checking account. Parishioners can make an on-line gift by visiting the Bishop’s Appeal website at www.oakdiocese.org. Other gifts such as appreciated stock or securities, easily liquidated property, and bequests are also options. Procedures for making a stock or securities gift can be found on the Diocesan website here or by contacting Phil Toups, Interim Director of Mission Advancement at 510-267-8314

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19. How will progress of the Appeal be communicated to the parishes?

Announcements will appear regularly in the Administrative Weekly. The Office of Mission Advancement will also provide updates to every Pastor along with ideas for follow-up.

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Office for Mission Advancement

Bishop's Appeal is managed by the Office for Mission Advancement. For more information regarding the Office for Mission Advancement, please click here.