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The Living Our Mission campaign has eclipsed the $40 million mark, with $40,952,710 raised as of May 15. The remarkable success is due to extraordinary generosity from parishioners in every corner of the Diocese of Richmond, who have made decisions of faith to support their parishes and this diocese. This historic campaign will better enable the Church to advance its sacred mission by providing funding that can be used directly by the parishes for their own local needs as well as funding for important ministries and initiatives at the Diocesan level, such as caring for retired clergy, supporting programs for youths and young adults, and financing seminarian education.
To date, seventy five of the 145 parishes in the Diocese of Richmond have participated in the campaign, which has an overall goal of $65 million. Many parishes have exceeded their initial goal, and in those cases the majority of the money raised over goal is returned to the parish. Three parishes completing their campaigns this spring, St. Gabriel in Richmond, Good Samaritan in Amelia, and St. Joseph in Petersburg, are excellent examples of inspiring leadership and generous parishioners.
At Saint Gabriel and Good Samaritan, Fr. Eric Ayers experienced success early in his campaigns. Good Samaritan, a mission parish located in Amelia, conducted their campaign over a shortened timeframe, and in only a matter of a few weeks, was able to exceed its goal of $27,000. To date, they have raised over $35,000. Fr. was able to accomplish the goal rapidly by bringing together the Hispanic and Anglo populations to accomplish their shared mission. With the funds that will be returned to them, Good Samaritan will be able to provide formation for youth and adult leadership as well as augment their building and grounds fund. The Living Our Mission campaign is helping this small but growing parish develop the next generation of Catholic leaders and continue to provide a welcoming home to those who want to experience the Catholic faith in Amelia.
At Saint Gabriel, Fr. Ayers is looking to use the proceeds from the campaign to develop a new pastoral plan for the parish, build their emergency maintenance fund, and pay off their capital debt. Over the past few months, Fr. has conducted a series of one-on-one meetings and gatherings to encourage early pledging to the campaign. The response from these meetings has been tremendous. To date, Saint Gabriel has already exceeded its goal of $689,000 in advance of their participation weekends. Because of this early success, Fr. has decided to set a challenge goal of $900,000 in order to pay off the debt faster as well as help support their youth ministry program full-time.
In the Creed at each Sunday Mass we all pray I believe in the Church, The Living Our Mission Campaign has given people an opportunity to show, in a concrete way, their faith in the Church. I have been overwhelmed with the level of generosity from parishioners, which is a clear indication of their trust in the Church and its leaders, and peoples’ belief in the importance of the mission of the Church at both the Diocesan and parish levels, said Fr. Ayers.
With Fr. Brian Capuano’s determination and vision, Saint Joseph in Petersburg challenged itself to raise two times their annual offertory through the Living Our Mission campaign. Saint Joseph is receiving 2/3rds back for anything collected up to their goal and 90% for anything collected over, because they are conducting a larger combined campaign. The main focus of their local case is to finance a new parish hall (the previous one was destroyed in a fire). In addition, they will be able to continue renewing their church and school and build endowments for their church and school.
Part way through the campaign Saint Joseph received an incredible gift of $350,000 to establish a tuition endowment for Saint Joseph School. This set the parish up to exceed the initial goal of $702,000, so they set a higher challenge target of $1,000,000 in order to focus on raising the money needed to build the hall. Fr. Brian Capuano has been the model of what it means to be a leader in this campaign. Since the campaign began, he has inspired people to contribute their best sacrifice in order for the parish to address their local needs while helping meet the larger needs of the Church. From the beginning, Fr. has been calling people himself to bring them in for meetings as well as leading gatherings in parishioners homes to gain support. Because of his enthusiasm, people have risen to his call for support, and the parish has now exceeded their challenge target of $1,000,000.
These three parishes, all now over goal — and still going — are examples of how every gift counts and can help a parish accomplish its local needs. Across the expanse of the Diocese, there are many more similar examples parishes using campaign funds to rebuild after a fire, to build a new church, to make urgent repairs. In other cases, parishes are using some of their funding to enhance or expand ministries or to begin an endowment to secure their future. To check the progress of your parish in the campaign or to learn more, please go to www.livingourmission.org.