iGiveCatholic.org is all about giving
A major initiative of the archdiocese – iGiveCatholic.org – is coming up on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Can you explain what this is all about and why it’s so important?
iGiveCatholic.org is a very exciting initiative of The Catholic Foundation, and I’m hoping it will be very successful in its first year.
First, let me offer some background, because I think that will give an idea of how this developed. Everyone knows how hectic even the Thanksgiving Day holiday has become. It used to be that Thanksgiving was reserved exclusively for families and for giving thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. It is a national holiday centered on the virtue of gratitude.
We have seen how this holiday of gratitude has inexorably been iGiveCatholic.org transformed over the years. First, a lot of the big-box retailers decided to open their doors for Christmas shopping bargains at 12:01 a.m. on Friday morning, and that mad rush of shopping activity across the country became so frenetic that the day picked up the nickname “Black Friday.”
It’s been so chaotic at times that people have even been trampled to death in their rush through the doors to pick up a half-price Christmas toy, video game or TV.
As the years went on, some stores wanted to distinguish themselves from the competition and began opening their doors for Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving evening, backing up the shopping clock into a day that had been reserved for families and for God.
Then, of course, the online merchandisers didn’t want to lose their share of the pie, and they discovered a marketing niche that they called “Cyber Monday.” That’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, when for 24 hours products are offered for sale online at fabulous discounts.
Everything was based on buying, buying and more buying.
I’m not sure who it was, but a few years ago someone came up with a great idea of an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it was called “Giving Tuesday.” It’s held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving – and it has nothing to do with buying but with giving. It has become a day dedicated to online philanthropy, and I’m pleased to report that Giving Tuesday has grown every year into a powerful counterbalance to what can often be considered materialism gone wild.
This year, for the first time, more than 100 of the churches, schools and ministries of the Archdiocese of New Orleans will participate in the first-ever Catholic online giving program called iGiveCatholic.org. And I’m really excited about the initiative.
What are the spiritual underpinnings of the day?
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least sisters and brothers, you did for me.” iGiveCatholic.org will allow all of us to make a difference together as a Catholic family.
This is the first-ever Catholic online giving campaign in the country. Giving is a joyous and transformative action in our lives that spills over into the entire community. Everything we have and everything we are are gifts from God. Out of gratitude, we give back to God. In Matthew 10:8, Jesus said: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
Why “give Catholic”?
Each day our churches, schools and ministries share our faith and make a difference in the lives of countless individuals. Many of those individuals we have never seen and perhaps do not know, but they are counted as our brothers and sisters. For us as Catholics, generosity and giving have a profound meaning. As children of God, giving is the ultimate expression of mercy as we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless and care for the prisoner. We preserve our Catholic heritage for future generations by our acts of mercy. This is an extraordinary way to prepare for the Year of Mercy, which will begin for the universal church on Dec. 8. I’m very appreciative of The Catholic Foundation for spearheading this initiative in our archdiocese, and I’m asking everyone to consider joining me on Dec. 1 as we “give Catholic” on Giving Tuesday.
What’s the breakdown of Catholic entities that will participate?
We will have 112 participants. That breaks down to 45 schools, 28 parishes and 39 ministries. The original expectation was that 50 entities might participate, so this is a great start.
Any idea what you might be able to raise on this single day?
We’ve set an overall goal of $500,000. People can go to iGiveCatholic.org and select the parish, church or ministry to which they want to make a contribution. It’s very easy because they can select more than one entity from the drop down list. Beyond the money that is raised for ministry, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to expose the broader community to the wonderful work we are doing in the archdiocese. Please join me on Dec. 1 by “giving Catholic.” It’s what “Thanksgiving” is all about.