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Spotlight Report

Lennon launches effort to replenish church funds

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 4/25/2003

Bishop Richard G. Lennon today plans to announce the launch of his first major fund-raising appeal as he attempts to end the Archdiocese of Boston's financial crisis.

Lennon hopes to raise at least $9 million this year to fund the operations of the archdiocese - up from $8.6 million last year but down from $16.2 million in 2001. The church's fund-raising last year was harmed by the clergy sex abuse crisis and by the downturn in the economy.

Elizabeth Jennings-White, director of development communications for the archdiocese, said the church will set two targets for this year - a $9 million baseline goal to fund existing programs, and a $14 million goal that would allow the restoration of programs that are being trimmed. The archdiocese has been cutting staff, reducing aid to various ministries, and reducing subsidies to parishes because of its severe financial crunch.

Jennings-White said the archdiocese recognizes that it could take some time to reconstruct fund-raising operations.

The fund-raising effort, which pays for the church's operating costs, is being renamed the Annual Catholic Appeal, with a slogan, ''One Church, Many Works.'' The drive had been called the Cardinal's Appeal, but that name proved deleterious as public anger toward Cardinal Bernard F. Law rose during the sex abuse crisis. Law resigned in December, and Pope John Paul II named Lennon interim administrator.

The archdiocese is planning a two-phase campaign, starting this weekend and running through the fall. The parishes that were asked most recently to contribute to the archdiocese's ongoing capital campaign will be asked last to contribute to the annual appeal, Jennings-White said.

Michael Paulson can be reached at mpaulson@globe.com.

This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 4/25/2003.
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