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Editorial: Generous donors rallied for Catholic Charities

The community came through.

Really, though, it should be no surprise: Western New Yorkers are known to take care of each other, whether in a literal snowstorm or one made of life’s challenges. We’re a hardworking lot who look out for one another.

So when the Catholic Charities Appeal risked missing its goal for the first time since 2010, and only the fourth time in the appeal’s 94-year history, donors rallied. Now the $11 million goal has been reached and even exceeded by a small amount, closing the $1.5 million gap that was yawning as late as mid-May. Fundraising is scheduled to end Saturday.

The fundraising effort is well worth it. The nonprofit organization is a valuable resource for Catholics and non-Catholics, alike. Indeed, many of its clients fall into the latter category. They take advantage of the 70 programs at 61 sites throughout the eight counties of Western New York. In 2017, diocesan officials estimated that more than 153,000 people were served by the organization. Yet, this year’s fundraising victory was hard won.

The culprit had to center on recent revelations about priest sexual abuse. Bishop Richard J. Malone, whose tenure here started well after much of the alleged abuse, has apologized. He has also released a list of the names of those who were “removed from ministry, retired or left ministry,” following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to officials. The church has set up a separate fund for restitution for victims and sold or is in the process of selling assets, including the bishop’s house.

None of the donations to Catholic Charities or past donations to the Upon this Rock campaign will be used for restitution, according to the church. The diocese does not provide money to support Catholic Charities. Individuals, corporations and foundations make up the bedrock of the organization’s funding.

Yet this year’s goal was nearly missed. It would have, but for gracious donors, many who showed up in what has been described as a monthlong rally. More than a quarter of the $1.5 million in that time was achieved through the first-time effort, “Day of Giving,” on June 8. Life Storage CEO David L. Rogers donated $50,000, adding to his and his wife’s yearslong dedication to Catholic Charities. Rogers also credits Sister Mary McCarrick, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, soon to retire, who he referred to as “an MBA on steroids.” Robert M. Bennett, appeal chairman, also credited St. Rose of Lima parish in North Buffalo for raising $60,261 and exceeding its goal by 24 percent.

Western New Yorkers, looking out for one another, even in adversity.

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