December 8, 2006

Many parishes complete participation in Legacy for Our Mission campaign

By Sean Gallagher

With a third group of parishes now under way in their participation in the Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future Campaign, 13 parishes that began last spring have now completed gathering their members’ support for it.

Among these parishes are Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis, which is seeking to make improvements to its church and school building, and the Richmond Catholic Community, which hopes to construct a gymnasium for its Seton Catholic High School.

Father Larry Voelker, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Indianapolis, hopes that his parish’s participation in the campaign will help it join the surrounding neighborhood in improving the quality of its buildings after they experienced what he described as many “lean years.”

The funds raised through the campaign will help the parish complete a restoration and protection of the church’s stained-glass windows, repair masonry and make improvements to the sound system.

“The worship space [improvements] will make a big difference,” Father Voelker said. “The neighborhood is improving, and we’re seeing [it] coming back. It makes the church building and facilities look cared for. [They] were in a state of disrepair.”

Although more than 40 years old, St. Gabriel Parish in Indianapolis has never had a building specifically designed to be a church. Where parishioners currently worship was intended to be eventually used as a school gymnasium.

Through current parishioners’ participation in Legacy for Our Mission, that original plan might come to fulfillment—and just in time.

Over the past decade or so, St. Gabriel Parish has experienced a large growth in the number of people coming to worship there, many of these Catholics coming from the Hispanic community.

Kent Blandford, a member of the parish who helped oversee its participation in the campaign, said that the Sunday evening Spanish Mass is filled beyond capacity each week.

The $2.1 million that the parish is raising through the campaign will fund the construction of a new church and the renovation of the current church into a multipurpose parish life center.

“Building that new church is really the lynchpin because we’re at the point now where we quite frankly have run out of space for ministry,” Blandford said.

The many parishes that have participated in Legacy for Our Mission thus far are also helping to support the shared ministries of the archdiocese that so many people in and beyond the Church in central and southern Indiana benefit from, including the services of Catholic Charities, the formation of future priests and the support of home mission parishes.

“Our participation is important, not [only] for the dollars and cents,” said Father Voelker, “but it’s important for us to acknowledge that we are a part of the larger Church.” †

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