As the Diocese wraps up the first year of the Living Our Mission campaign, many people have come forward to offer pledges of support to this historic effort. To date, $30,909,423 has been raised from 43 of the 145 parishes conducting the campaign in 2014. This puts the Diocese ahead of its base goal of $21,697,000 for these parishes and builds strong momentum towards achieving its overall goal of $65,000,000 by the end of 2015.
Parishes across the Diocese are meeting with success in encouraging parishioners to join in this monumental effort to build our future Church. In addition to raising money for major challenges such as strengthening our parishes and schools, rekindling commitment in our younger generations, educating our future priests, training our lay leaders and taking care of our retired priests, parishes will also be meeting their urgent local needs.
In the pilot phase, which was conducted in the spring of this year, $14,604,416 was raised from only 14 parishes. In the current wave which was conducted during the second half of the year, parishes of varying sizes and demographics have achieved their goals. Two of these parishes are Good Shepherd in South Hill and The Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk.
Good Shepherd set out to raise a goal of $82,000 to meet their building needs, because their community has outgrown existing office and classroom space. The plans for the renovation have been developing for some time and the Living Our Mission campaign is allowing the parish to make this goal a reality. With the leadership of Fr. Gerry Kaggwa and the generosity of his parishioners, Good Shepherd exceeded their goal in only a few months. To date, they have raised over $100,000 and the numbers continue to climb.
Beyond raising funds for the important needs of the parish, Fr. Kaggwa also spoke about how the Living Our Mission campaign brought their parish community together.
“The Living Our Mission campaign has helped us make great strides in bringing our Anglo and Latino communities together for a common purpose. Thanks to committed leaders of both communities the campaign has contributed a lot to the positive changes which are taking place in this parish. For sure, we can say that the Living Our Mission Campaign was a success, but the great success in all this is the new found cooperation and enthusiasm about our Church from both communities. This is a good foundation for the future of this parish”, said Fr. Kaggwa.
The Basilica in Norfolk also has building needs, but on a much larger level. Its parishioners worship in a beautiful, gothic church that has all the potential to become a breath-taking space; but disrepair, storms and old age are taking their toll on the 156 year old building. Their needs are so great that they endeavored to raise $1,000,000 (more than one times their offertory) through Living Our Mission to make needed repairs and updates to their worship space, soup kitchen, parish hall and school building.
The key to achieving this goal was the leadership and enthusiasm of the Basilica’s pastor, Fr. Jim Curran. He met with over fifty parishioners individually and many more in group settings. He asked every parishioner to pray – asking God’s discernment to guide them in how they were called to support the campaign. During Mass he prayed for the prosperity of the Basilica, he prayed for the participation of all his parishioners and he asked that each family consider making a sacrificial pledge. Because of his leadership, people responded. To date, 40% of the families at the Basilica have made a sacrificial pledge or gift, bringing their total pledged to just under $1,200,000!
The story of the Basilica and Good Shepherd are just two of the many stories about what the Living Our Mission campaign stands for – the idea of joining together so our Church can reach far beyond the boundaries of any one parish. By doing so, we are able to share our faith, hope and love with all those who the good Lord calls us to serve.
To learn more about the Living Our Mission campaign, please visit livingourmission.org.
By Alex Previtera, CFRE