BAA Report 2017

Originally Appeared in : 9710-5/11/17

How often in Catholic life do we say the word “mystery”? 


In the Mass, in the bishop’s homilies and the lives of the saints, the word “mystery” is a regular feature that speaks to the unfathomable mercy of God, the creation of our immortal souls at the moment of our conception, or the amazing ways God’s providence touches lives through the free response of people to his grace. 


Mysteries are a part of a Catholic world view. That some things, actions and choices of fellow believers are mysterious makes our world an epic poem and not just some dead materialist husk. Mystery is like salt or light or leaven that makes all the difference between the bland and the fantastic.


So perhaps we should not be surprised by the mysterious donor who came literally “out of the blue” and offered an unprecedented challenge to our bishop on the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day this past March. How Catholic is that?! This person sought to do something extravagant by challenging everyone in the diocese who values the role that Catholic education, faith formation, seminarians and our other diocesan ministries play in the lives of everyone in the pews.


The challenge was simple: Any new donor’s gift and any increased giving from past donors would be matched dollar for dollar with no cap so long as these gifts were made by April 30, 2017 and any pledges be paid off by December 30, 2017. Extraordinary. Mystery. It’s like a star burst at night that has ignited other fires.

By April 30 our informal estimate is that well over $100,000 of new or increased giving has been received. As of this morning (May 2) we’re still tabulating and counting because April 30 was a Sunday and many parishes took up collections or encouraged people to make online gifts throughout that day and evening.


Once we get the final tally we will communicate this with the mystery donor and report to the diocesan family as a whole so that we may all rejoice in our part of this epic event and say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the intercession of this donor that the Lord may bless and prosper the work of those hands for such a mysterious act of generosity as we have just experienced. 


Joseph Stong is Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Savannah


Click on the image below to read a PDF of the full progress report. 

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