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Bishop 'very hopeful' of reaching goal

Cautious optimism.

That was the feeling in Catholic Charities headquarters in Buffalo on Sunday afternoon as volunteers from all over Western New York continued to drop off donations for this year's appeal.

"It's going pretty good from what I hear," Bishop Edward U. Kmiec said. "We're very hopeful."

"There's been a lot of action here," he said.

Sunday's event, known as Second Report Sunday, marked the end of Appeal Week 2011 for the 87th annual Catholic Charities drive, which continues until June 30.

Kmiec said he was hopeful the drive could reach its $10.5 million goal.

"We're cautiously optimistic," he said. "Whatever it is, we're grateful to the people. It's not so much about getting to your goal, it's not the number as much as it is allowing us to do the work."

Sister Mary McCarrick, the diocesan director of Catholic Charities, said the collections continue to be a little ahead of last year at this time.

"It's so energizing to have parish chairs come from every county of the diocese with their parish returns," she said. "We encourage everyone to donate. No gift is too small."

Gregory P. Maher, the 2011 appeal chairman, said it was hard to gauge the total amount collected as Appeal Week wrapped up.

"It's been good so far," he said. "A lot of people are coming in. We will collect until the end of June to reach our goal."

As of Sunday afternoon, the appeal had collected about $7.7 million, according to Rose C. Caldwell, public relations director for the diocese.

About 15 Catholic Charities volunteers who have worked on the annual campaign for 30 years or more were honored Sunday. Among them were Bill Herberger, with 66 years of service, and Jim Trimper with more than 50 years. Both are from St. Pius X Church in Getzville.

Another longtime volunteer, Ralph Meranto of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Niagara Falls, dropped off part of the parish's donations in sacks filled with rolled coins collected by one of the parish's youth groups. Meranto, who is the Niagara County appeal chairman, said some of the kids collected about $400 in coins in a bucket. Another youth group at the parish also will be adding to the total with its collection, he said.

"It's been nice to meet some of the volunteers and express our thanks to them," Kmiec said.

Anyone wishing to donate to the 2011 appeal may do so by going to the charity's website at, McCarrick said.


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