September 9, 2005

New archdiocesan campaign will bolster Church’s spiritual mission

By Brandon A. Evans

The archdiocese is launching a new capital stewardship campaign titled Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future as a way to ensure that the mission of the local Church stays vibrant in the coming years.

The resources raised will go directly to benefit such priorities as parish capital and endowment needs, Catholic education, retired priests, seminarians, Catholic Charities and our cemeteries.

The title of the campaign, said Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, refers to the mission that the archdiocese has been given by Christ that we need to carry out now and in the future.

“What we need to keep in mind, always, is that the purpose of the campaign is to further the spiritual mission which Christ gave to our Church,” he said. “There is no other justification. The Church lives in the real world and so it takes financial and personal resources to carry out the ministries that give glory to God and that help all of us to find salvation.”

The new campaign does not come lightly, and from its outset the archbishop is making clear that this is an initiative for the benefit of parishes, schools and agencies in all regions of the archdiocese.

The financial goals and purposes of the campaign were worked out after about three years of consultations with the leaders of the archdiocese, and now the campaign is getting underway in 10 pilot parishes.

“The needs for ministry were assessed, reviewed and discussed among pastors, lay leaders and those responsible for overseeing the various ministries of the Church,” the archbishop said. “Our parishes participate in this campaign and the individual pastors, parish leaders and advisers determine their particular needs and their goals that accompany those of the larger archdiocesan Church.”

Preliminary news about the campaign was first mentioned by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein at the annual meeting and luncheon of the Catholic Community Foundation ( CCF ) last fall.

As the archdiocese prepares for a new capital stewardship campaign, the archbishop recalled the great success of the last campaign.

The Legacy of Hope: From Generation to Generation campaign was conducted
several years ago and raised more than $85 million—mostly for the benefit of local parishes, but also for the home missions and shared ministry needs of the archdiocese.

“Campaign goals are challenging,” the archbishop said. “We look at the track record of our previous efforts. Our last campaign demonstrated that our local Catholic parishioners are very generous—we exceeded the last campaign goal by about 75 percent.”

The new archdiocesan campaign will begin with a preliminary financial goal of $100 million to meet the challenges presented in six priority areas.

The first is that it will address the specific mission and ministry needs of each of the 150 parishes in the archdiocese.

A key part of this is the Growing Stewards: Mission Enhancement Initiative, which helps parishes develop an action plan that affirms or identifies their ministry priorities and long-term needs.

“The resources raised in the campaign are for enabling the pastoral mission of the archdiocese,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “In other words, the money raised goes for pastoral ministry and not for central administration.”

Second, the Legacy for Our Mission campaign will continue, enhance and sustain the mission of our Catholic schools in all regions of our archdiocese through teacher training programs, tuition assistance, high school capital needs and support for the rural and urban schools.

Among the objectives within that goal is to expand financial support to lower-income elementary school students outside the center-city of Indianapolis. Regarding this, the archbishop has stressed that the mission of Catholic education must not be only for the affluent.

The third goal for the campaign will be to provide long-term funding to sustain the home mission parishes and schools in all areas of the archdiocese, and also to help parishes meet the needs of the growing Hispanic Catholic population.

“I am passionate about meeting the needs of home missions here … in our own archdiocesan boundaries,” Archbishop Buechlein said. “We care for the poor by providing for immediate needs, but we also provide for the poor by providing them with a good education and moral and spiritual formation in our schools and parish programs.”

Fourth, the campaign will help renew our Church’s age-old commitment to reach out to the poor and marginalized, to those in special need, and to do that especially through our Catholic Charities agencies.

Those various agencies in all corners of central and southern Indiana are in urgent need to sustain their essential services, the archbishop said.

The fifth goal will be to aid vocations recruitment, the education of seminarians, continuing education for priests and lay ministers, formation for permanent deacons, and funding for the expansion of new parish and school programs.

Finally, the Legacy for Our Mission campaign will help the archdiocese to care for the special needs of retired priests, provide for the special needs of guests at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House, provide for our cathedral and care for our deceased members through the ministry of Catholic Cemeteries.

The leadership gift phase, for major benefactors and campaign leaders, will take place from this fall to the summer of 2006. A few parishes that have expressed special interest will also begin participating this year.

The majority of parishes will take part in the campaign in 2006 and 2007—and the 2006-07 United Catholic Appeal will be blended in with the Legacy for Our Mission campaign.

The agencies that will benefit have been well-chosen and the planning behind the whole campaign has been impressive, said Richard Pfleger, a member of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, who is serving the campaign as associate general chair, and also as chair of the leadership phase.

“We have a lot of things that need attention,” he said. “I think that the Legacy for Our Mission campaign is a great opportunity for us as Catholics to share our gifts and blessings with those who are less fortunate.”

The campaign will “expand Christ’s work in central and southern Indiana,” Pfleger said, and will provide Catholics with a real way to “get involved in a lasting legacy” for our children.

Jerry Semler, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis and general chair for the campaign, said that the “campaign will bring much-needed funds to help us in our mission as a Church, such as creating Catholic education opportunities for needy children. We hope to do more to enhance our parish ministries and reach out and care for those who are poor—spiritually and materially.”

Pfleger thinks that archdiocesan Catholics will be generous in the upcoming stewardship campaign.

“It’s a big goal, but I think we can make it,” he said.

Archbishop Buechlein asked that everyone directly participate in the campaign in three ways: by praying for its success, by becoming actively involved in parish and archdiocesan life, and by making sacrificial gifts of time, talent and treasure.

“We have received the mission and ministry of the archdiocese from those who have gone before us in the faith,” Archbishop Buechlein said, “and now it is our turn to be the shoulders of those who will come after us. We remind ourselves that what we are about is largely for the benefit of our children and generations to come. We want to hand on a Church and a mission in central and southern Indiana that is secure and strengthened for the future.” †


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