OGDENSBURG - Parishes throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg this weekend will kick off the 2012 Bishops Fund Appeal.
The appeal raises money to support the dioceses Catholic ministry programs and Good Samaritan Fund, which helps people of all faiths in need.
This years goal of $1.25 million is the same as last years, which was met, said Valerie A. Mathews, Bishops Fund Appeal director.
Our theme this year is Faces of Faith, she said. Its about being here for our neighbors.
The fund helps pay for youth retreats at Camp Guggenheim on Lower Saranac Lake, family ministries, programs for lay ministers like the Formation for Ministry Program and other initiatives.
These are ministries that no one particular parish can afford to have on their own, she said. It also funds youth ministry and education of seminarians and vocations. Our young adult ministry and family life ministry help families become stronger. It helps everyone socially, spiritually and educationally.
Mrs. Mathews said the Good Samaritan Fund especially offers critical help to people at a time when poverty is rampant.
There is a lot of need out there, she said. My family and I help out in the ecumenical food pantry in Lisbon, and its shocking how empty it gets. Through the Good Samaritan Fund, there have been grants to food pantries throughout the diocese.
A news release about the appeal told the story of Baby Catherine, who was born with a heart defect and given a 10 percent chance of survival. With the help of the Good Samaritan Fund, she was able to have life-saving surgery.
If we havent been there ourselves, we know people who have been there, Mrs. Mathews said. It gets them through another day.
The Bishops Fund Appeal will be held in parishes throughout the diocese Saturday and Sunday. Those who cannot make a donation in person may mail them Bishops Fund Appeal, P.O. Box 150, Ogdensburg, N.Y., 13669, or donate online at www.dioogdensburg.org/development .