December 8, 2006

Legacy for Our Mission campaign helps small, clustered parishes

Members of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Siberia in the Tell City Deanery are raising funds through their participation in the Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future Campaign to establish an endowment that will ensure the future care of its cemetery. (Submitted photo)

Photo caption: Members of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Siberia in the Tell City Deanery are raising funds through their participation in the Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future Campaign to establish an endowment that will ensure the future care of its cemetery. (Submitted photo)

By Sean Gallagher

Every parish, regardless of its size, has needs to meet to carry out its mission of evangelization in the city, town or countryside in which it is situated.

The Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future Campaign is intended to help all 150 archdiocesan parishes and the archdiocese as a whole do this by involving as many Catholic households in central and southern Indiana as possible.

Some parishes have a relatively large number of households so their needs can also be large in monetary terms.

Through its participation in the campaign, St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, with 1,418 households, plans to build a new parish life center to host meetings and social gatherings, and a multipurpose facility for athletic events.

The parish’s goal for the campaign is $4.7 million.

Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, with 1,198 households, seeks to accomplish major upgrades to its school’s heating, air conditioning and lighting systems.

Its goal for the campaign is $2.1 million.

Small parishes, important goals

Other parishes across the archdiocese are much smaller than these two parishes.

In fact, nearly 43 percent of all archdiocesan parishes have less than 300 households and all 11 archdiocesan deaneries have at least one parish that fits this description.

According to Joseph Therber, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development, the goals of smaller parishes are no less important to the mission of the Church than those of larger parishes.

“Every parish goal—regardless of size—represents a ministry vision and a prediction of future outcomes for the mission of our Church,” he said. “And, in very practical terms, we are reminded of the old saying, ‘What gets measured gets valued.’

“What can be more valuable than gathering the resources to do God’s work here in our local archdiocese?”

Their needs, in monetary terms, may not be as large as those at St. Simon the Apostle or Christ the King parishes, yet they are no less important if the Church’s mission is to be achieved throughout the archdiocese.

St. Meinrad Parish in St. Meinrad is in the midst of the participation in Legacy for Our Mission and has a goal of $144,000.

In striving toward this goal, its 248 households are looking toward their parish’s long-term future.

According to the pastor, Benedictine Father Adrian Burke, St. Meinrad Parish’s present need is the demolition of an underutilized former school building.

Only one room is used in it, yet its heating costs have been approximately $2,000 per month in the winter.

“Once that building is demolished, we can begin the process of talking about a new parish hall or a gathering space for the parish,” said Father Adrian.

Other small parishes don’t have physical needs like their larger counterparts or like St. Meinrad Parish.

But the campaign is helping them ensure their ministry into the future through the building up of endowments.

St. Mary Parish in Mitchell already has a parish life center. But the faith community’s 120 households want to make sure that it continues to serve them well into the future by establishing an endowment that will make funds available for its upkeep in the years to come.

The Bloomington Deanery Parish has a campaign goal of $450,000.

Parishes working together

Many small parishes across the archdiocese share ministerial resources such as a pastor or parish administrator of religious education. Others are linked to larger ones.

Many of these “clustered” parishes find it helpful to participate in Legacy for Our Mission at the same time and help each other out in working toward their respective goals.

This has been the experience of Margaret Goedde, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford, which is clustered with St. Mary Parish in Mitchell.

Goedde is the coordinator of the campaign at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, which has a goal of $2.4 million.

“We’ve gotten to know each other, and we can work ideas off of each other,” she said. “We’ve benefited from the things that St. Mary has come up with and vice versa.

“We can share responsibilities. I think it’s been a really good thing to have everyone working together like we’ve been doing.”

With the funds raised through the campaign, St. Vincent de Paul Parish’s 667 households hope to build a parish life center and connect all the buildings on the parish’s campus.

St. Meinrad Parish is clustered with two other parishes: St. Boniface Parish in Fulda and St. Martin of Tours Parish in Siberia.

All three are participating in the campaign at the same time.

“We extended our volunteerism, and the collaboration among all three parishes was tremendous,” Father Adrian said. “We had huge numbers of volunteers that never had volunteered for stuff before coming out of the woodwork to do this. Before long, we had a room filled with people I barely knew. It was wonderful.”

A spirit of sacrifice

Like St. Mary Parish in Mitchell, the 71 households that make up St. Martin of Tours Parish hope to ensure their heritage for the future through the funding of endowments in the campaign.

It already has a parish endowment that it hopes to build up further. The parishioners also hope to establish an endowment that will provide funds for the future care of the parish’s cemetery.

Although the parish’s goal of $63,911 is small when compared to other parishes, Father Adrian noted that it still requires its members to take on a spirituality of sacrifice.

“It is an exercise, if you will, in growing in the spirit of sacrifice as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who said that what happened to [him], you will, in some sense, have to endure,” he said. “Can you drink from this cup?”

He spoke about one family in particular in the parish that listened to him speak about the importance of sacrifice and responded.

Although they face many financial challenges, their pledge of support was significant, according to Father Adrian.

“[They] understood,” he said. “[They] got it. And they’re sacrificing. They’re going to reap the spiritual fruits of this campaign, without a doubt.”

If archdiocesan Catholics, as Father Adrian stated, seek to imitate Christ in their sacrificial giving then they are also seeking to do God’s will.

Father Rick Eldred, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and St. Mary Parish, hopes this will be first and foremost in the minds and hearts of his parishioners as they participate in the campaign.

“If we all unite together in prayer that God’s will be done, then this will be a success,” he said. †


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