.- Two U.S. dioceses surpassed their annual fundraising goals and collected record amounts in 2005.
The Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, raised a record $10.6 million, and the Diocese of Arlington raised more than $6.3 million.
The Diocese of Bridgeport had set its goal at $10 million. According to officials, 75 of its 87 parishes in Fairfield County met or exceeded their fundraising goals. The average gift was $392.
These funds support a range of programs, including Catholic schools and religious education programs, ministries, new vocations, chaplains, the Safe Environments program and Catholic Charities.
In Arlington, the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal surpassed the $6.24 million raised in 2001. Last year, the appeal only collected $4.8 million from 25,000 families. This year, 31,000 families in 67 parishes participated.
"This unprecedented outpouring of generosity from the faithful of our diocese will bolster our efforts to serve our communities through Catholic education, outreach to the underprivileged in our midst, and ministry to our ever-growing and diverse Church of Arlington," said Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington.
In addition, the appeal supports youth ministry, seminarians in their study for the priesthood, and Catholic Charities.
On average more 12,000 Catholics are joining the Diocese of Arlington each year. Some parishes receive more than 30 new families per month. The number of registered Catholics has increased 42 percent over the past decade to over 400,000 members.