AREA-The 2007 Archbishop's Annual Appeal (AAA), as it nears the midway point of the campaign, has garnered 2,500 more donors and received $700,000 more in pledges compared with the equivalent period last year.
Last year the AAAcampaign registered a final collection of $10 million with a 1-percent increase in the overall number of donors. Pledge Week, which opened the 2007 AAA program, was launched at archdiocesan parishes on Feb. 3 (see The Catholic Advocate, Jan. 24).
The gain in the number of donors at this stage of this year's campaign is especially noteworthy, considering that the vast majority of parishes throughout the United States are faced with a shrinking number of donors for their respective annual fund-raising programs.
Carla Gonzalez, executive director of the archdiocesan Development Office, marking the campaign's midpoint, provided a "top-10" list parishes throughout the four counties of the Archdiocese of Newark-compiled on each parish's individual "percentage over goal" for 2007 AAApledges. She pointed out that this percentage- not the total amount of money pledged-is the key measurement used to rank the various parishes in the AAA program.
Gonzalez said the pledge goal for each parish is determined based on 9.7 percent of its annual offertory funds. There are 226 parishes within the archdiocese. (Note: see page two of this edition for a full listing of parish AAA pledges at the midway point of the campaign. Pledge amounts do not include corporate matching gifts.)
Immaculate Heart of Mary/Saint Patrick Parish in Elizabeth held the number-one spot at the halfway point of the 2007 AAAcampaign. The parish tallied pledges of $40,155 or 415 percent over its goal. Saint Joseph's Korean Catholic Church, Demarest, is in second place with a percentage of 338 and a pledge amount of $45,340. Holy Trinity Parish, Fort Lee, held third place with a percentage of 334 and a pledge amount of just over $71,190.
Saint Mary's Parish, Plainfield, held fourth place with 325 percent on pledges of nearly $98,000. Holy Rosary Parish, Edgewater was fifth with a percentage of 275 and pledges of $35,280.
The top-10 list was rounded out, in order, by the following parishes: Saint Francis, Hoboken (269 percent); Our Lady Help of Christians, East Orange (267 percent); Saint Michael's Newark (263 percent); Good Shepherd, Irvington (230 percent); and Epiphany/Holy Trinity, Newark (227 percent).
Earlier this year a gala reception for pastors and lay leaders was held at Nanina's in the Park, Belleville, to recognize the efforts of parishes in the AAA campaign (see The Catholic Advocate, Feb. 7). Those parishes honored at the reception, for going above and beyond their 2006 AAA goals, included Holy Trinity, Fort Lee; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Ridgewood; Immaculate Heart of Mary/Saint Patrick, Elizabeth; Saint Francis Parish, Hoboken; and Saint Gabriel the Archangel Parish, Saddle River.