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Catholics' 'power of generosity' fuels annual #iGiveCatholic Giving Day

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WASHINGTON — Cory Howat, president of #iGiveCatholic, is optimistic that despite setbacks in their household finances they might have because of the ongoing pandemic and now inflation, Catholics will be as generous as ever on the seventh annual #iGiveCatholic Giving Day Nov. 30.

"We believe in the power of generosity. In fact, it is one of the most beautiful aspects of our Catholic faith," he said.

Donations received on that day, online or offline, will benefit more than 2,600 participating Catholic organizations, which include parishes, schools and ministries in 40 U.S. dioceses. An advance two-week giving phase that leads up to the day is currently underway.

A number of national ministries also have joined the effort this year, and schools across the country are taking part independently in an effort sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association.

"Over the past six years, we've seen people experiencing tough times and in a spot where they need help," Howat said. "#iGiveCatholic organizations are here for them to reach out and get the help they need.

"We've also seen those in a place of good times and abundance, and they reach out in gratitude to support organizations participating in the U.S. Catholic Church's Giving Day. Both situations are signs of our faith in action!"

Howat and his team, who are based in New Orleans, see #iGiveCatholic Giving Day as a kickoff to the charitable season, and a way to bring the Catholic community together to give thanks and give back on #GivingTuesday, which refers to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. This year that's Nov. 30.

Giving Tuesday is a movement initially started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y, a community center in the New York borough of Manhattan, and the United Nations Foundation, as a response to consumerism the organizations felt is represented by the post-Thanksgiving shopping days known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Last year, #iGiveCatholic raised more than $12.7 million from 48,273 donors to support schools, parishes and nonprofit ministries in dioceses across the country.

Anyone can participate in #iGiveCatholic by visiting www.igivecatholic.org and making a minimum $20 online donation to their preferred Catholic institution or organization Nov. 30 or during the advance giving phase.

The online minimum donation was lowered this year from $25 to $20 as "one practical step" that recognizes "people are struggling this year," Howat said, adding that there's a renewed emphasis "that offline gifts of cash or check given directly to a favorite Catholic organization can be made in any amount."

Those interested in donating to schools participating through the NCEA may do so at ncea.igivecatholic.org or to national ministries participating this year at nationalministries.igivecatholic.org.

Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic publisher based in Huntington, Ind., that serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing and communication services, is the national sponsor of #iGiveCatholic.

"Every one of the Catholic schools, parishes and ministries that benefit from the generosity of #iGiveCatholic donors plays a fundamental role in building up the body of Christ," Kyle Hamilton, CEO of OSV, said in a statement. "Catholic donors help fulfill the Christian mission."

Every year since the giving campaign was launched in 2015, there has been "exponential growth in the amount of funds raised as well as the impact this effort has had in the church," according to Howat.

"Throughout history, Catholics have always been transformational givers; we are a generous people," he said. "Our world and our society need to see and experience increased generosity. More importantly, they need to see the joy Catholics have as we give back out of our gratitude in return for how we have been blessed."

"Generosity has different faces," he added.

"Many Catholics can share their financial or other resources, while some are generous with their time spent in acts of kindness or service to others, and others give of their talents serving in nonprofits, our schools and parishes," he said. "Everyone can make a difference in another person's life."

On #GivingTuesday, "we encourage all to go out and be generous," he added.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021