As you know we are in the midst of the Leadership, Major and Advancedphases of Catholic Strong, an ambitious, diocesan-wide campaign that seeks to raise $50 million to invigorate, strengthen and expand our efforts as an Apostolic Church. Each parish of the diocese has been assigned a goal based on its income charted over the last several years. Ours is an eye-popping $1.27 million! That is a reflection of just how generous you have been!
But remember, 70% of what we raise is ours to keep for our own efforts. To return so much to the parishes in a diocesan campaign is unheard of elsewhere in the U.S. So while this is a tremendous undertaking, the potential reward is outstanding.
Our hope is to provide stronger ministerial outreach, particularly to youth, by hiring a full time Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Social Media Communications; and establish endowments to provide scholarships for young people to attend a Catholic High School as well as our own Religious Education program. We hope to create a lounge as a social gathering space for our Senior Citizens by day and youth by night. There are a variety of building repairs and improvements that need attention, such as our Church parking lot which needs to be milled and resurfaced; concrete steps, retaining walls, parking bumpers and curbing that are crumbling and need repair or replacement; padding for the church’s pews and kneelers; a replacement of the rotting Padre Pio gazebo in the Prayer Garden; a renovated space in the Church for our Music Ministry; an expanded Church Gathering Space; and a retirement of our parish debt incurred with the expansion of Our Lady of Hope Regional School.
I would also like to use some of these funds to create endowments to support the work of our 2 social outreach ministries: the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Interfaith Hospitality Network/Family Promise.
The L, M, and A phases got off to a good start. We have received quite a number of substantial gifts from our most generous supporters. But we still have a long way to go. I know that many parishioners are concerned that their pledges will be used to pay for clergy abuse settlements, but we have been assured over and over again by Bishop Sullivan himself that this is totally untrue. I truly understand why some might doubt his word, but I do not and neither should anyone else. All of the cases against any clergy of our diocese were closed many years ago, and there have been no new charges since the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth in 2002. So we expect no new settlements anyway, and there is an insurance policy to cover this if ever, God forbid, there should be.
As we enter the season of giving, I hope more of you will open your hearts to the spirit of this campaign and respond as generously as you are able. This will ensure a healthy future for the mission of our parish, that the Good News of Jesus may reach those who have fallen away from our Church and draw to Christ those who still do not know God and the love God has for all creation.
LET’S GO EAGLES, FLYERS AND SIXERS!
In His Love,