By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator

As the fledgling #iGiveCatholic campaign neared, Tammy Abshire, stewardship director for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, expressed optimism that the third year would show continued growth.

But not even Abshire could have predicted such success.

During the 24 hours of the Nov. 27 campaign, the diocese raised $102,272, not only a single-year record but more than the previous two years combined. In 2016 #iGiveCatholic generated $47,500 and $49,675 a year ago.

“I am completely overwhelmed and so grateful to the people in the Diocese of Baton Rouge who continue to support our ministries and schools,” Abshire said. “We were optimistic about having a great year but to raise more than $100,000 is phenomenal.

“Our churches, our parishioners and perhaps most importantly our young people will be the beneficaries of the generosity of so many.”

Baton Rouge was one of 29 dioceses/archdioceses that participated in the national campaign that raised more than $5.6 million, benefitting 1,354 ministries.

Donors also hit a record high, increasing from 476 in 2017 to 501, and those donors contributed to 36 ministries that included schools, church parishes, non- profit organizations and Catholic communication outlets.

St. Mary of False River Church in New Roads set the bar by raising $50,775, more than five times higher than St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge, which ranked second at $10,109.

St. Michael the Archangel High School was third and ranked as the highest school, raising $9,945.

The Woman’s New Life Center in Baton Rouge ranked fourth and first among non-profit organizations with $6,200.

St. Mary led the way with 134 donors, more than 25 percent of the number of the total number who contributed.

St. Jean had 109 donors and St. John Primary and St. Theresa Middle School was third with 70 total donors.

Abshire said the record year is an indicator of how important the Catholic faith is to the people in the diocese.

“Our people have a deep love for their church that is hard to find anywhere else in the country,” she said. “Because of our unique culture, the Catholic roots for many of our families go back centuries. That faith has never wavered and continues to be strengthened with each generation.

“The success of #iGiveCatholic is proof of their dedication and love of their church.”

#iGiveCatholic is held annually in conjunction with #GivingTuesday, celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, as well as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday is traditionally considered the busiest shopping day of the year and is considered a harbinger of the holiday  buying season.