New 2024 DSF appeal calls us to serve others

January 23, 2024

Deacon Jeff Willard, port chaplain and director of the Galveston Seafarers Center, greets visitors outside the center’s front door located just off The Strand by the Port of Galveston. The Seafarers Center is one of the 60-plus ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund. (Photo by Office Of Development)

HOUSTON — In his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul cuts through the differences: there is no slave or free; no Greek or Jew; no poor or rich, because all of us become one in the Lord to whom we are constantly called back.

In very much the same way, the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF) provides an opportunity to cut through the differences of life, to participate in the works of this local Church as a whole, and to help brothers and sisters no matter where they are.

Over the last 58 years, DSF has provided the necessary resources for the ministries of the Archdiocese to flourish. Since the day Bishop John Morkovsky established DSF in 1966, it has served as an annual invitation to Catholics throughout Galveston-Houston to act out the Gospel message through collective works.

The DSF continues to grow each year — garnering more and more support and participation because of the vital nature of the ministries that it supports. These ministries, which help all live out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, are the types of ministries that no one parish could accomplish on its own. These works are done collectively in the name of every Catholic because it is the living out the unique mission given to the faithful through Jesus Christ.

The 64 ministries supported by DSF annually help clothe, feed, and accompany hundreds of thousands of those in need every year.

These ministries prepare 17,000 children for future success filled with faith through the Archdiocese’s 55 Catholic schools and form an additional 75,000 men, women and children in catechetical programs. These ministries help prepare future priests and permanent deacons; serve incarcerated youth and adults; offer support to the 300,000-plus seafarers who come through area ports each year; minister to the elderly, the sick, the deaf and incapacitated; build good and holy families; and defend life from natural beginning to natural death.

“All we do as Catholic Christians is oriented toward the love of neighbor and toward the glorification of God’s holy name,” said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. “We are formed into God’s own people.”

He continued, “The 64 ministries supported by DSF educate, serve, gather and sanctify us. They allow us to work together in carrying out the mission of the Church.”
Cardinal DiNardo said that whether the gift is small or large, “it’s your participation that counts.”

“The faithful of the Archdiocese are what makes DSF and the works it funds possible,” he said. “I invite everyone, whether it be through financial or spiritual support, to join me in supporting our local Church in this year’s DSF appeal. Through the DSF, we become icons of Christ in the world by demonstrating the charity of Christ through concrete actions.”

Of each gift given to DSF, 100% goes directly to supporting the 64 ministries that are funded by DSF. Additionally, Cardinal DiNardo has approved a number of parish incentives. For every dollar that a parish goes over the goal, 75% is returned to the parish.

The remaining 25% goes to support the Aid to Poor Parishes program, which helps provide emergency relief to parishes facing immediate and difficult challenges. Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars are made available through this fund to help parishes repair necessary A/C systems, repair roofs and foundations, upgrade emergency equipment, and maintain the parish campus so that it is a safe and welcoming environment for all.

Additionally, 50% of a gift made by a first-time donor will be returned to the parish community.

Registered parishioners throughout the Archdiocese should expect to hear more about the impact the DSF has on the local community. Through letters, emails, videos and social media, Catholics have ample opportunity to learn about the great things accomplished collectively in their name.

To support the DSF, visit, select the gift amount, and attribute it to the parish. Making a gift online is by far the fastest, easiest and most secure way to support the DSF. Other options are to fill out a pew envelope in the parish church and drop it in the collection basket.

Above all else, the faithful of the Archdiocese are invited to pray for the success of the DSF appeal and for those engaged in the ministry of the Archdiocese.