Share this story

Catholic Charities and Communities

Catholic Charities and Communities

The What & the Why

Pledge Sunday for the annual appeal of Catholic Charities and Communities for the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama was Sept. 26. So many participated that day as their pledge cards were collected in parishes across the diocese. Thank you! Many have participated by making their pledge or gift online or by mail. Thank you!

But now what? Where does that money go? Well, I love talking about just that.

Since the start of our diocese in 1969, the annual appeal has been named “Catholic Charities Expansion Program,” “Diocesan Development and Catholic Charities Drive,” “Catholic Charities Appeal,” and now, “Catholic Charities and Communities for the Diocese of Birmingham.” This year’s change is important, reflecting the nature of the appeal, made for the greater good of building faith-filled families and communities throughout central and northern Alabama.

Let’s go deeper with answers to a few common questions about the appeal.

I give to my parish so why should I also give to the diocese?

Everyone’s first obligation is to support their parish. It’s essential to the health and growth of your home parish, its ministries, your fellow parishioners, and your community. Your support of the appeal at the diocesan level then extends your generosity — through the ministries and work of the diocese, beyond parish boundaries to all in the care of the Bishop of Birmingham. This collective effort can impact lives far beyond the reach of individual parishes.

What is the purpose of Catholic Charities and Communities for the Diocese of Birmingham?

I often categorize the work of Catholic Charities and Communities into three important areas:

Aid those in need.

The amount of charitable work carried out by our ministries within the borders of our diocese is astounding. The need is great in our state, in our communities, and in our own families. Everyone benefits when all lives in our diocese are improved and evangelized through ministries such as Catholic Social Services, Catholic Family Services, Disaster Relief, Catholic Schools, Hispanic Ministry, Black Ministry, Sacred Liturgy, and Vocations.

Promote and support education.

It’s part of who we are as Catholics. We each are responsible for passing along our Catholic faith to future generations and bringing more people into — and in many cases, back to — joyful lives rooted in the Catholic faith.

Exercise stewardship.

Every one of us reading this page has been blessed in ways we are hardly able to fathom or express. Generously serving all in our diocese is a beautiful way to transform the graces we have received into a tangible representation of the love and hope of Jesus.

Where does the money go?

Last year, the largest Catholic Charities and Communities allocation, roughly 56 percent, went to support our diocesan Catholic Social Services work. Strategically positioned throughout the diocese, Catholic Social Services comprises six Centers of Concern, four Centers for Catholic Family Services, and Disaster Relief Services, which collectively assisted more than 52,000 people living in the Diocese of Birmingham.

In addition, 22 percent was allocated to assist focused ministries in carrying out their missions to enhance lives and strengthen our communities, including Black Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, Evangelization and Catholic Schools.

Another 15 percent was allocated for Religious Education and Vocations, building up the future of our church in Alabama through faith formation in the lives of tens of thousands of students and in educating future priests to serve in our parishes.

And lastly, only seven percent was used for administration expenses.

Is our Catholic Charities and Communities organization connected to Catholic Charities USA or Catholic Charities from other dioceses?

Many organizations around the world use the name Catholic Charities, including many Catholic dioceses. I know this can be confusing, but please be assured that there is no direct or indirect affiliation with Catholic Charities USA or any other diocesan organizations and Catholic Charities and Communities for the Diocese of Birmingham.

What is the “Faith in Education Fund” I saw on the pledge card?

Many students in our Diocese of Birmingham Catholic Schools are blessed to receive financial support from three state-approved Scholarship Granting Organizations and other benefactors. Unfortunately, those funds can fluctuate from year to year. To bridge gaps in scholarship support during lean years, our diocese has established the Faith in Education Fund. Many have already made gifts to the fund in addition to their pledge in response to the annual appeal. Thank you!

Obviously, I can’t thank you enough for all that you do. Please know that no gift is too large or too small, for together as a faith community, we bring love and hope to all in central and northern Alabama.

Peace be with you, always.

Gifts and pledges can be made at any time online, by mail, or by dropping your pledge card in a parish collection. Please visit and click on “Catholic Charities” for more information or to make your pledge or gift.

Catholic Charities and Communities

P.O. Box 12047

Birmingham, Alabama 35202


Allen McClendon is the Director for Development for the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.