ACA materials.
ACA materials.

“We are a Eucharistic people.”

This profound truth is at the heart of the 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal, set to launch in all parishes the weekend of Feb. 18-19.

With the goal of $6.5 million, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., encourages the faithful from throughout the Diocese to prayerfully consider their part in the Appeal by reflecting on this year’s theme, “We Are the Body of Christ.”

“As recipients of the Eucharist, the Real Presence of Jesus in his Body and Blood, we are meant to become Christ-like, to become Christ to all we meet,” Bishop O’Connell said.

“This means, as the Body of Christ, our life as Church, and our lives as individuals, must be directed toward the good of others, something, I am proud to say, is clearly demonstrated in the many ministries that are conducted within the Diocese of Trenton and our parishes.” Noting that the selected theme reflected the Diocese’s participation in the three-year Eucharistic Revival, Bishop O’Connell said, “Through these ministries, we, as Church, are able to share the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood with others.”

In a video to be shown at all Masses on Appeal weekend, parishioners will hear more of Bishop O’Connell’s message and learn about some of the many ministries and programs supported by the campaign.

Parishioners will be invited to make an in-pew contribution using the pledge cards that have been provided to all parishes. Those who wish to further discern their contribution can do so by reviewing other Appeal materials, including a brochure and letter from Bishop O’Connell that were mailed to most registered Catholic households within the four-county Diocese or by visiting The Bishop’s video message may also be viewed on the webpage as well.

According to ACA information, ministries that will receive support are as follows:

  • Eyes of Christ: Ministries earmarked to receive $1,750,000 involve families, youth and young adult ministries; Catholic social services (Mount Carmel Guild); pastoral care (prison ministry, respect life, grief) and outreach to the poor and vulnerable.
  • Feet of Christ: Ministries designated to receive $2,250,000 are all related to vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.
  • Hands of Christ: Ministries of evangelization, communications, religious education for children, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Catholic school programs and professional development for educators are set to receive $2,2500,000.

Donors can select the area of ministry they most want to support or direct their gift toward the ministry where it is most needed.

Reviewing the 2022 ACA, Christine Prete, director of the diocesan Department of Development, and Rose Kimball, development associate, said that as of Jan. 31, 2023, $6,160,050 had been raised in pledges toward the $6.5 million goal and that 39 parishes had reached their Appeal goal. Those parishes that reached their goal receive a 15 percent reimbursement and parishes that exceeded their goal receive half of the amount over goal.

Prete and Kimball explained that parishes use rebates for a variety of reasons, including maintenance projects, funding ministries and community outreach and many other unfunded needs that require attention. Prete noted two recent examples of how parishes used their rebates, including Mary, Mother of the Church, Bordentown, which updating its livestream capability, and St. Peter Parish, Point Pleasant Beach, which is building a chapel inside the parish school.

In exploring ways to help parishes increase the number of donors, Prete said that keeping the lines of communication open between the Diocese and the faithful and reminding them that the ACA is a diocesan-wide effort that involves participation of all the faithful is key for growing and strengthening the many ministries that are made available.

“It’s all in communicating that we are connected as the Body of Christ,” she said.

Kimball added that a new way the Development Department will keep the faithful informed is through a quarterly newsletter that will highlight how the donations are being used.

In closing his 2023 Appeal video message, Bishop O’Connell referenced St. Matthew’s Gospel (Mt. 10:8) when Jesus commissioned his disciples, “What you have received as a gift, give as a gift!”

“These words are a reminder that we should be grateful for the many blessings we have received from God in our lives and that we, in turn, should give of ourselves through our time, talent and treasure,” Bishop O’Connell said.

“The Lord’s words are addressed to us,” he said, adding that he is continually humbled and thankful for the many years of support the Diocese’s faithful have shown toward the Appeal and asks that they “prayerfully consider a gift to the 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal as your means allow.

“It is only through your generosity that we, as a Eucharistic people, can share our belief in God’s gift of love with every person we meet,” said Bishop O’Connell.