Diocese Scales Back Annual Appeal
The bishop canceled regional receptions and other components of the Diocese of Scranton’s upcoming annual appeal following the devastating grand jury report that details decades of priests’ sexual abuse of children in six Pennsylvania dioceses, including Scranton.
In an Aug. 23 letter to 2,500 people invited to the receptions, the Most Rev. Joseph Bambera said the annual appeal will be held, but the diocese will approach it differently this year.
Besides canceling six regional receptions, including one Tuesday at Glenmaura National Golf Club, the diocese will not show the annual appeal video in parishes and is canceling the In-Pew Commitment Weekend, which gives parishioners the opportunity to contribute to the appeal by completing a pledge card, Bambera said in the letter.
The diocese still plans to send appeal letters next month to seek donations and the appeal video is available on the diocese’s appeal website, http://www.annualappeal.org. The appeal, which aims to raise $5 million, began this month and will continue until June 30.
Bambera said he made the decision “in consideration of the gravity of the findings of the grand jury report and the impact it is having on victims, their families and all members of the faithful.”
“While I look forward each fall to gathering with you at our appeal receptions, I believe it is important for me to focus all of my efforts on working with our clergy and our diocesan staff to restore trust in our local church and provide healing and comfort to victims and their families,” Bambera said in the letter.
Bambera said he initially planned to hold this year’s Diocesan Annual Appeal the same as in past years, but after hearing from parishioners decided to take a different approach.
“During the course of this past week, I have had the opportunity to speak with pastors and hear from parishioners who have shared with me the pain and hurt that everyone is feeling at this time,” Bambera said. “It has become clear to me that we must engage your support and the support of others in a much different way this year.”
William Genello,diocese spokesman, provided a copy of the letter after a reporter inquired about the Glenmaura reception cancellation.
In an email, Genello expressed hope that parishioners will continue to support the diocese.
“So many individuals depend on us for the ministries we provide,” he said. “ It would be unfair if the despicable actions of those listed in the grand jury report impact all the good that the Diocese does — including our shelters, our kitchens and our schools.”
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