Many thanks for your patience over the last few weeks. We have been experiencing some technical issues with our internet at the parish office and at the rectory. So, if you tried to contact us and were not able, or if we did not get back to you in a timely manner, then please know that we have not been ignoring you; this issue also entailed our phones being down sometimes for hours at a time. At the time of writing this article, we are working on resolving this issue and we hope to have it up and running smoothly soon.
In last week’s bulletin article, I explained that our capital campaign is a single campaign that is raising funds for both parish and diocesan projects at the same time. I provided details last week about the parish projects we hope to accomplish, and would now like to provide more details regarding Bishop Thomas’ initiatives, for which we are also fundraising.
With his diocesan-wide campaign, in which all parishes are participating, Bishop Thomas hopes to establish a few endowments; one such endowment is the Fostering Healthy Parishes Endowment. This endowment will make resources readily available for new parish-based ministry programs aimed at spreading the joy of the Gospel through leadership, Catholic catechesis, and maintaining the well-being of our parish communities. By supporting both current and more permanent programming, this endowment will help fuel the implementation of creative new initiatives based on principles proven to make parishes the center of evangelization in their respective communities. With these funds, the Diocese will be able to foster healthy parish leadership teams, provide a knowledge base of best practices for parishes, and enhance the spiritual life of our people.
Bishop Thomas is also seeking to raise money to provide formation for seminarians and care for retired priests. The cost for one seminarian’s annual education averages in excess of $50,000, including tuition, room and board, and health care. Due to our number of seminarians, the annual cost to educate them is approximately $800,000. With the present fundraising effort, Bishop Thomas is hoping to bolster the diocesan endowment that subsidizes a portion of the annual costs of educating our current seminarians in formation, securing necessary funding to support the annual costs of forming our future priests.
Regarding our retired priests, the diocese currently has 64. At present, the diocese utilizes an annual assessment of every parish in the diocese to help provide for the healthcare and benefits of all our retired priests. Supplementing the assessment in this matter are all the donations to the annual “Perpetuate the Gift” collection. Money raised in the Bishop’s current initiative will build up the diocese’s Priest Retirement Fund, which will result in a lower annual assessment for all parishes in the diocese.
The Bishop is also seeking to strengthen the presence and ministry of Catholic Charities throughout the diocese. At present, Catholic Charities only has a presence in Toledo, Norwalk, Sandusky, and Mansfield. With funds raised by the present campaign, the hope is to expand Catholic Charities’ services and open new locations in the diocese.
Strengthening Catholic education in our diocese is another of the Bishop’s goals with the present campaign. The Bishop is hoping to establish two new endowments. One endowment will directly help Catholic schools across the diocese by implementing a diocese-wide virtue curriculum, new Catholic learning standards, and tools to enhance Catholic culture in our schools. It will also support ongoing faith-based professional development programs for employees and volunteers, provide programming to our parishes and schools to confront secularism. The second Catholic education endowment to be established is the Young Adult and Campus Ministry Endowment.
If you have any further questions about what the Bishop is raising money for, please feel free to contact me at the parish office.