June 30, 2017


CCF celebrates 30 years of helping to build a foundation of faith

“The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.” These words begin the popular hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation,” composed in 1886 with lyrics by Samuel J. Stone and music written earlier by Samuel S. Wesley. The inspiration for this great hymn of hope is from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11).

Built upon the one foundation that is Jesus Christ are many diverse structures including dioceses, parishes, schools and a whole host of religious and charitable organizations and institutions. All seek to build up the Body of Christ and to carry forward the mission and ministries of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is blessed with hundreds of these structures. All are built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and all have material needs (buildings, equipment and finances to cover operating costs). Supporting a growing number of these archdiocesan institutions are the 466 funds of the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) which was established 30 years ago by the late Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara to provide financial stability and growth for the Church in central and southern Indiana as it carries out Christ’s work now and in the future.

In 1987, the archdiocese was a pioneer in the diocesan foundation movement. The CCF was established at least 10 years before most of the other 143 diocesan foundations in existence today.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein inherited the Catholic Community Foundation when he was installed as archbishop in 1992, but he recognized its value for parishes, schools and institutions of the archdiocese, and so he invested a significant amount of his time and energy in making it grow. From the beginning, the CCF, which now has net assets of more than $161 million and over the years has distributed more than $105.5 million, has benefited from outstanding lay leaders who guide the investment and distribution of funds and who work hard to make sure that principles of Christian stewardship are part of every decision made by the foundation’s board.

Why establish a diocesan foundation? Why pool the resources of parish, schools, cemeteries and other archdiocesan agencies under a single umbrella, the Catholic Community Foundation?

Evansville Bishop-Emeritus Gerald Gettlefinger was vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1987, and he was a passionate advocate for the new foundation. He foresaw the advantages that would accrue to individual parishes and schools that were too small to build up sizeable endowment funds on their own. He also believed that the CCF presented an opportunity for Catholics from all regions of central and southern Indiana to unite in support of the long-term health and vitality of their archdiocese.

Unlike the United Catholic Appeal: Christ Our Hope which is necessarily focused on the immediate ministry needs of the Church, the Catholic Community Foundation takes the long view. Its mission is to provide financial health and stability for the future—especially for parishes, schools and agencies of the archdiocese that require the mutual support and solidarity of all members of the Catholic community.

According to the popular hymn, “The Church shall never perish! Her dear Lord to defend, to guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end.”

The Catholic Community Foundation is an expression of hope for the future. It is a sign that Catholics throughout the archdiocese are confident that today’s parishes, schools and agencies will be equipped to serve the needs of people throughout central and southern Indiana now and well into the future.

In his first press conference, Archbishop-designate Charles C. Thompson spoke about his desire to build on the foundations of his predecessors as the new archbishop of Indianapolis. He also referred to his episcopal motto, “Christ the Cornerstone.”

It is surely not a mere coincidence, but a sign of God’s providence, that the 30th anniversary of the Catholic Community Foundation takes place in the same year as the installation of a new archbishop who has pledged himself to Christ the Cornerstone and to continuing to build on the vision and hard work of previous archbishops, CCF trustees and staff, and generous Catholics in all regions of central and southern Indiana.

May God bless the Catholic Community Foundation. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide the growth and financial stability of the Church in central and southern Indiana for many years to come!

—Daniel Conway

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