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
For over 120 years, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Staunton has brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Staunton and the surrounding area, not only by the words and deeds of its parishioners, but also by the physical presence of the church itself.
Designed by the famous architect T.J. Collins and clad in a unique greenstone, it has stood as light to the world. For years the church’s exterior stone has been rapidly deteriorating. The parish committees and engineering experts have studied this issue extensively and found it necessary to restore the church’s exterior.
Saint Francis’s participation in the Living Our Mission capital campaign is allowing this project to become a reality.
Due to the extraordinary needs facing the parish, Saint Francis is receiving back over eighty percent of funds collected up to its campaign goal of $1,800,000 (four times the usual parish offertory amount) and ninety percent of funds raised over that goal. By initiating this campaign now, the parish will be able to take significant steps towards restoring the church by:
- Replacing the failed exterior stone with granite stone of the same general color;
- Reinforcing the structural walls of the church directly behind the facade of granite;
- Repairing the bell tower substructure and replacing the facade with granite stone;
- Reengineering the drainage system of the water shed from the roof to eliminate future water damage to the structure;
- Completing other prudent repairs that arise as the project proceeds to ensure that the restoration provides a permanent solution to the current problem and a permanent church structure.
Greg Ridenour served as Chair for the campaign and explains why he wanted to become involved in this endeavor.
“I wanted to be involved in the campaign because it ties everything together — both geographically speaking, the local parish and whole Diocese, but more importantly generationally, building on what has gone before and setting the stage for success in the future.”
In a span of only a few months, with the leadership of Fr. Joseph Wamala, an international priest from Uganda, as well as Mr. Ridenour and many other parishioners, Saint Francis was able to come together in raising $1,868,224.
“The Living our Mission Capital Campaign has been a great and challenging experience for me. I had never dreamt of raising an amount four times the annual income of the parish.
Over the past six months since the Diocese first launched the Living Our Mission campaign in fourteen pilot parishes, many people have come forward to offer pledges of support to this historic effort. To date, $10,248,566 has been raised from the parishes participating in the first wave of the campaign. This puts the Diocese ahead of goal for the pilot group and builds strong momentum towards achieving its overall goal of $65 million in raised dollars.
All parishes will participate in this campaign in one of four waves during 2014 or 2015 with the next wave occurring in the Fall. In addition to raising money for the major challenges facing our Church 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. The parish share of the total goal of $65 million is $22 million which represents the largest portion of the dollars raised from this campaign.
One of the parishes that participated in the first wave was Holy Cross in Lynchburg. They set out to raise a goal of $627,000 and recently became the first parish to eclipse their goal by raising $699,580. Their parish receives 1/3rd back up to their goal and 2/3rd back for anything collected over the goal. With the funds returned, they will be able to hire a Coordinator of Youth Ministry and a Parish Young Adult Minister in the future as well as upgrade their media technology.
Msgr. Kenneth Rush is pastor of Holy Cross. “When we started this process, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was so new, but I have to say that I have been amazed by the generosity of our people. In addition to raising funds for our local needs, this campaign has also offered us an unexpected opportunity to bring our parish community closer together. When I sat with people one-on-one and in small groups to talk about the goals of this campaign; I was able to learn more about them which helped me build deeper relationships. This campaign has also brought us closer through the many people who rallied together to make it a success – our parish staff members, the consultant and Diocesan staff who worked with us and the many volunteers who contributed their time and talents. I am so grateful for their support”, said Msgr. Rush.
Msgr. Rush with the children of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Lynchburg.
The Diocese of Richmond has announced the Living Our Mission capital campaign over the next two years. This historic campaign has set a goal of $65 million dollars and will benefit each parish, prepare for the future of our church, support our clergy, and advance the shared mission of the diocese. The campaign has selected twelve pilot parishes that have already started raising money towards their parish goals. The campaign prayer sets the tone:
Lord God, hear our humble prayer. Empower us with your grace to faithfully live the mission entrusted to us by Christ. Keep our hearts and minds fixed on Jesus so we might continue the sacred work He began with self-sacrificing generosity.
With the help of Mary, our Mother, may we bear witness to the glory of God with great joy. Bless this campaign by igniting a new enthusiasm for living our faith and fulfilling our tremendous mission.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our hope, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.