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A 3.4 percent increase in the 2001-2002 Catholic Charities budget can be attributed largely to inflation and the expansion of programs, according to Monsignor Henry J. Gugino, diocesan director.

This year's goal, announced Jan. 19 by Bishop Henry J. Mansell of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, is $9,767,000, up $317,000 from last year. The appeal will run from April 1 through 8.

Last year's appeal actually raised $10.3 million, exceeding the goal by $850,000. The additional money was prorated to the various programs and funds to support their work, Gugino said.

Although it is called the Catholic Charities Budget, the money raised goes into two funds: Catholic Charities, which totals $5,986,270, and the Bishop's Fund for the Faith, which amounts to $3,780,730.

The Charities money is used to finance the operations and programs of Catholic Charities, the human services arm of the diocese. The Bishop's Fund partially supports departments, offices and ministries of the diocese, including seminary training, campus ministers and hospital chaplains.

"To keep up with needs, you have to add people and expand programs, and there is a cost to that," said Gugino. "That's why the goal goes up every year."

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