SPRINGFIELD -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield fell short of its annual fund-raising goal for the fifth straight year, according to church officials.
The diocese raised $2.8 million dollars through its 2005 Annual Catholic Appeal, about $100,000 short of its goal and roughly $63,000 less than raised in 2004.
The diocese raised an additional $1 million for hurricane and tsunami relief, but those efforts contributed to the Appeal's shortfall, said Virginia Webb, the diocese's director of stewardship and development.
''I think a lot of people said, 'I must give to that which really needs me on an emergency basis,' " Webb told the Republican newspaper of Springfield.
More than 40 agencies receive money from the fund-raising campaign for a range of education, healthcare, and family services. The diocese is expected to allocate the money next week.
''Certainly almost everyone in the allocation pool will see a reduction because there are fewer funds to be given out," said diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont.
Although the clergy abuse scandal has hampered previous fund-raising campaigns, Dupont said he believes it is no longer a significant factor.
The number of contributors has fallen, but the diocese's average donation increased from $62 to $100 between 2002 and 2005. More than 500 donors contributed at least $750.
Dupont said the diocese plans to spend more time educating younger Catholics about the fund-raising campaign.
''There is a move afoot nationally that suggests we need to do a better job getting across our message," Dupont said.