Cathedral Square Plaza on East 9th Street was a flurry of activity on Tuesday, Nov. 27 for the online day of giving #weGiveCatholic.
Shortly before 9:00 A.M. Father Don Oleksiak, Moderator of the Curia, greeted staff and announced that approximately $175,000 in donations had been received during the morning hours. Fr. Oleksiak reminded the staff as they gathered in prayer of Philippians chapter 4, verse 6 and 7. “Do not be anxious about anything,” he prayed, “but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
While the #weGiveCatholic headquarters were in full swing, Bishop Nelson Perez took the airwaves of Northeast Ohio. He spoke of the importance of the #weGiveCatholic day of giving and how any donation amount can help make a difference in a person’s life. Bishop appeared on Fox 8’s morning show and was interviewed by morning anchor Wayne Dawson. He travelled to WOIO Channel 19 for the morning program, Sunny Side Up with anchors Neeha Curtis and Julian Glover. For those driving into work, Bishop spoke to Newsradio WTAM 1100 Morning Wills and Snyder show and later was interviewed by Akron’s WAKR 1590 morning host, Ray Horner. “All are invited to make a difference today,” said Bishop as he provided details on how to give online at www.weGiveCatholic.org through 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
As mid-morning began, Catholic Community Foundation Director of Development, Bob Hickey, guided staff through the #weGiveCatholic headquarters for the day. “Seeing everyone come together to encourage donors and support our organizations across the diocese that are fundraising for a full 24-hours is a true testimony to our mission. Where treasure is, there is also heart,” said Hickey.
Starting at 10:00 A.M. and at the top of each hour throughout the day, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Facebook page feed featured Facebook LIVE videos that provided organizations, donors and the entire social media community with the latest updates. In real time viewers had the opportunity to see how many unique donors had participated, how many organizations had benefited and total funds raised. In addition, contest winners were announced helping boost fundraising goals for organizations.
The celebration continued throughout the lunch hour when students from grades nine through twelve from Elyria Catholic High School stopped by the campaign headquarters for a pizza party with Bishop Nelson Perez. Together Bishop Perez and Patrick Grace, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation, spoke to students about the concept of Catholic philanthropy. The students talked about their experiences of sharing time, talents and treasures in ways that supported the Elyria Catholic community. Aiden Woodyard, as junior at Elyria Catholic, joined Bishop Perez and Director of Alumni Relations Kelsie Stites for Facebook LIVE during the lunch hour. Aiden spoke from his heart as he shared how he and his classmates have benefited from donors just like those watching.
By 2:30 P.M. the #weGiveCatholic headquarters cheered and thanked the 3,500 donors who helped clinch the $700,000 mark. “The more donors, the greater the impact,” shared Grace. “With nine hours left to give we are excited to see how our community of donors will respond.”