Coming to a parish near you

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is starting a major capital campaign: Heritage of Faith, Vision of Hope.  The diocese is hoping to raise $200 million.  Every parish will participate.  The program is currently piloting at 12 parishes.  One of those parishes is ours.

Apparently, each parish will have its own monetary goals, 35% of which is returned to the parish, and 65% of which goes to the diocese.  Our parish has some very worthy projects ear-marked for the money we raise (youth ministers, Catholic education credits etc).  Our parish’s goal is somewhere around $1.5 million.  The program hasn’t gone public in our parish yet, as we are still in the Schmoozing-The-Rich phase of the campaign.  Once the rich have been adequately schmoozed, the pastor then hopes to go public with a big announcement that, yeah $1.5 mil is a lot of money, but look at how much we’ve already raised…surely we can scrape together the rest.  I think it’s a brilliant plan.  Heck, last time I heard anything, we have already raised $837,000, and that’s only from 34 donors.

The funny part is how I know all of this.  Well, my best guess is that it dates from the days when we tithed, not on a weekly basis, but on a every-couple-of-months-or-so basis.  In other words, the checks we submitted were rather substantial, only because we hadn’t given anything in a long long time.  So, this has apparently landed us on some “generous contributor” list.  I took my oldest to the meeting, and man, did we ever stand out.  I was by far the youngest there, which is saying something.  I was the sloppiest one there.  And I was the only one, not only eating the snacks, but packing up snacks to take home with me.  Who let in the hobo?


~ by Rob on October 21, 2008.

11 Responses to “Coming to a parish near you”

  1. Ah, so that’s how you get “in” with the rich dudes in the church. We might have to try this tactic. The only thing that would have made this story better is if S would have made some interesting comment at a particularly bad time.

  2. I was dreading it. And it never came. God is good.

  3. Our parish goal is $ 450,000. Our pastor is approaching those in phase 1; those who donate more than most, first. We have approxiamately 1,000 families in our parish with only about 450 who actively participate and donate. There are approximately 25 families in this phase who have been asked to donate $ 25,000 each spread out over 5 years. It would only take 18 families to reach this goal at this donation level. My plan would be to ask all 450 families to donate $ 1,000 spread out over 5 years, which equals $ 200 per year or less than 4 dollars per week over and above what they normally donate. I think this figure is much easier to swallow than just a few donatators giving it all. Could it be there really trying to raise much more than what their goal really is ? To possibly pay for priest law suits.

  4. Thanks for the comment. I tend to take them at their word when they don’t list lawsuits as part of their “earmarks”. And the thing is, once you exceed the goal, the parish then gets 65% of the money instead of the 35% they were getting. So it certainly is in the parish’s interest to exceed their goals.

  5. Our parish goal is 1,470,000. It is interesting how there seems to be a fundraising workflow established in which particular families are asked first and then the rest of the parish is told that the 35% mark is achieved by some very generous families, now how about everyone else comes up with the rest that the Archdiocese and parish needs. It seems strangely staged that the same workflow is being described at the other parishes. It almost seems too much like “professional” fund raising.

    I feel distressed that there is nothing at all on the Archdiocese website to promote this. I don’t like that there is next to no information about this online. I wonder why are there only a few parishes being piloted right now and why mine is one of them. It just doesn’t sit right. On top of all of that, why now? This is really a bad time for many, we’ve lost 50% of our 401K and have tremendous concerns about our jobs. The timing really couldn’t be worse and it’s as if the Archdiocese came up with this right after the banks all failed.

    If they need to solidify the priests pensions, I wish they’d just say so.

  6. Anonymous2:

    It is “staged”. It *is* being conducted by a “professional” organization. The reason there is nothing on the website (apparently) is that it is still in the pilot phase. Announcements are apparently forthcoming in 2009. As to the timing, I know that the super-duper secret phase of our parish’s campaign started before the whole financial crisis hit (i.e., late spring 2008). Agreed, though, that this is really bad timing. Still if there is a need now, there is a need now. Crisis or not. The real challenge, I think, will be getting people to deliver on their commitments, now their financial situations have really changed.

    And that last part (of your comment) seems a little too cynical. I don’t think our priests are trying to line their pockets. I think, rather, that there is great infrastructural need, as well as need for health care for aging priests and a whole host of other stuff.

  7. You are right, I am feeling cynical. But no, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the priests are lining their pockets. It is more a thought along the lines of what financial crisis could the church be in due to the banking failure and are they being forthcoming with it? I know that the public employee pensions are in a big mess because they were guaranteed a rate of return around 6 or 8% annually. Now the invested pensions have nowhere near that amount of money in them. Fortunately for the public sector, they will just increase our taxes significantly. Now private pension plans are another matter. I would be MORE likely to donate generously if I thought it was to save the priest’s pensions.

    If it is to add more decorative art or build a new state of the art high school while the other existing archdiocesan high schools are left to find their own means of bridging the gap between collected tuitions and expenses, then I’m not too interested in such luxuries at this time. They might be worthy projects…. but not during this financial crisis.

  8. I think it’s hysterical that I searched “Heritage of Faith Vision of Hope”, in hopes of having a few Qs answered, and your blog was my first hit. 🙂 I told you already that we were in the first asked group in our parish. Father G is totally hysterical and told me that he had no aspirations to make Monsignor and that we really should say no to the “ridiculous” number they hit us up for 🙂

  9. Indeed, we are the premiere source of all things Catholic on the web. I thought our # was ridiculous. But now we have surpassed it. But that’s ’cause we have a real parish.

  10. The campaign website doesn’t pop up on google. Try You gotta figure that the church took a hit in the market, too…the priests’ pension plan, the endowments for scholarships, etc. are in the same boat as the rest of us. I keep thinking of that church that collapsed in West Philly a few years ago. It must cost a fortune to keep up with some of the old churches in the city. If we don’t do it, who will?

  11. interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

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