by JEFF DILLON
Although Sunday, August 9, marked the official day for making donations to the Catholic Caring Foundation in the Dunedin diocese, money still continues to flow into the fund. By mid-September, over $12,500 had been received, with indications of more envelopes on their way.
Vicar-general Fr Gerard Aynsley noted that the 2020 total is down on the total in 2019, when just over $20,000 was gathered in.
The foundation was established in 2013 by then-Dunedin Bishop Colin Campbell. Since then, the foundation’s funds have grown to over $ 1.3million through annual appeals, donations and also a number of untagged bequests being directed into the fund. There is an effort being made to find ways of actively growing the total to at least $2.5 million. Fr Aynsley commented, “that would potentially provide sufficient investment return to support much of the diocese’s social and pastoral outreach”.
The present funds are invested and produce an interest income. That provides a Catholic Caring Fund of nearly $37,500, that can be drawn on throughout the year.
Financial support flows into several avenues.
- There are grants being made to support families in Invercargill and Queenstown who have lost their livelihoods during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Grants are made to support Catholic Social Services in their important work with families and children
- Funding helps some of the work of the diocesan pastoral office and the formation of parish and youth leaders.
- Support is given to the newly appointed diocesan Social Justice co-ordinator and some social justice outreach.
- Assistance has also been instrumental in supporting catechesis to rural children
- People facing financial challenges have been helped through the St Francis of Assisi Trust
- Young people facing challenges are helped by providing some financial support to the Edmund Rice Camps.
Successful Edmund Rice Camps have been run for some 28 years and are very reliant on receiving financial assistance from various sources. The Catholic Caring Fund is one of those sources which helped the running of two camps, lasting a week each, during the last summer period. The first of those was held just before Christmas, 201,9 and the second was in January, 2020. Another important source for those two camps was the $6000 donation provided by the Tindall Grants Committee.
The week-long camps provide a range of experiences for the recommended participants and not only aid the young people involved but also the families they come from. The voluntary Edmund Rice Camps are a practical sign of the social and personal benefits that can be achieved by the financial support provided by the Catholic Caring Fund.
Bishop Michael Dooley is hopeful that more people in the diocese will consider making regular contributions to the fund to allow the fund to grow so that more support can be assured for the various demands on the fund.