Annual HOPE Appeal kicks off, builds ministry ‘one stitch at a time’
By Dc. Tom Cuskey
“I always say, ‘When times are tough, there’s got to be a reason that I’m here at this moment, right?’”
That’s part of Beth Hoey’s philosophy on life in the service of others. And life, as we all know, always has its tough moments and hurdles. Hoey’s mantra, “There is always hope,” fuels the drive she brings as director of the Diocesan Foundation and the leader of the annual HOPE Appeal campaign to help underwrite the many ministries serving God’s people in our seven-county area.
The 2023 appeal — with its slogan, “You strengthen the fabric of our faith” — officially kicked off in parishes this past weekend, a pledge campaign that extends through Dec. 31. In the campaign video (see the link at the end of this story) Bishop Douglas J. Lucia welcomes viewers with a reminder that “we are woven together to build a faith-filled tapestry.” The campaign logo, in the image of a patchwork quilt surrounding the Eucharist, reflects the many and varied communities joined together in support and service of ministries that would not exist without the appeal.
“It does take treasure,” Hoey said. “It takes time and talent and treasure. And, you know, people really aren’t giving to us, they’re giving through us,” she added with emphasis, “and what an amazing blessing it is, to be able to watch this happen.”
This is campaign number “two-and-a-half” in her tenure, as she describes it. She came to the diocese in 2021 after many years of development service to Syracuse’s Francis House, a home for people with terminal illnesses. That campaign was already underway when she took over, helping to lead the effort as many parishes were reconnecting with their congregations as COVID restrictions eased. Last year, her first full campaign as director, resulted in gifts exceeding $4.8 million. This year’s goal is slightly more ambitious and already feels a little different to Hoey.
“What feels different is that ‘strength’ piece of it. What feels different is the stories that I’m hearing about people who are becoming Catholic.” Hoey points to specific examples in the campaign video. “That was the story of Kim (a participant in the Deaf Ministry). She wanted to become Catholic. And then the story of Marcus (Muffoleto of SUNY Binghamton) from the Newman House, he became Catholic in college. I think we are strong, and we will continue to be a strong Church.”
The video also highlights Catholic schools, services to the elderly through Catholic Charities, and the Formation for Ministry program. These are among the 27 specific ministry areas that Hope Appeal donations support. And every gift matters, according to Hoey, who recalls one gift last year of just $2. Like the widow’s mite in the Gospel, gifts are given from the heart, from people who sacrifice to make the appeal happen and together make a better life possible for so many. “One stitch at a time,” as she said.
“Life isn’t easy. I don’t see a time where there’s not going to be a challenge,” she added. “This is life. We are a family, we’re going to have challenges. But this is a wonderful time for the HOPE Appeal. I think people are not only reminded of the goodness of the strength of our diocesan family, but it also gives people an opportunity to participate in that goodness. It’s something I get to witness, that everybody gets to witness. It’s a beautiful thing.”
For more information and to watch the HOPE Appeal 2023 video, visit syracusediocese.org/hopeappeal/ or scan the QR code.