November 23, 2007

2007 Accountability Report

To the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Dear Friends in Christ:

As we enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we have much to be grateful for in our archdiocese. Let’s remember to turn to God in thanksgiving and prayer for all of the blessings he has bestowed upon us. As good stewards we are called to use what God has given us wisely and to account for how we use these gifts.

Here is our annual archdiocesan accountability report rendering an account of our stewardship of the human, physical and financial resources of the Church in central and southern Indiana. It has been my privilege for the past 15 years to have had the responsibility of leading the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. We are blessed in our archdiocese to have dedicated clergy and religious, hard-working lay leaders and generous parishioners. I believe one of our greatest accomplishments in recent years has been the advancement of stewardship as a way of life. Stewardship is an acknowledgement that everything we have comes from God. It’s the basis for authentic Christian living.

Legacy for Our Mission Campaign

The Legacy for Our Mission Campaign has been an amazing story. This capital-stewardship campaign is in its final phase and we are close to reaching our $100 million goal. More than 26,000 households have prayerfully brought forth more than $90 million so far. I am hopeful that we will reach or surpass our goal before the end of the year. Every net dollar of proceeds from the campaign will be used for ministry through capital, endowment, or operating support to parishes, schools, and agencies throughout the archdiocese. (A more detailed account of the campaign can be found inside in the report submitted by Jeffrey D. Stumpf, chief financial officer for the archdiocese.)

One of the most gratifying results of the Legacy for Our Mission Campaign has been the eagerness of people to become more involved in the life of their parish and the archdiocese. Through the campaign, more than 13,000 people have enlisted as volunteers at their parish or in other archdiocesan ministries. This reflects more than one in every eight archdiocesan households. I believe this increase in lay involvement will produce great benefits for our archdiocese in the future.

The success of the Legacy for Our Mission Campaign is a sign that our archdiocese is thriving. It also shows that we understand that although much of our faith life is lived at the parish level we also see ourselves to be family of faith—an archdiocesan-wide family. We are all in this journey together.


We now have 25 seminarians in formation. We have a great group of future pastors. They are bright, committed and very caring and bring with them significant real-life experience. We ordained three men to the priesthood in 2007 and hope to ordain two more in 2008. In 2009, we anticipate ordaining five men to the priesthood.

Our Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary on the Marian College campus in Indianapolis continues to be a source of hope and a sign that a “culture of vocations” is taking root in our archdiocese. We have 11 seminarians for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis residing at the seminary as well as four seminarians for the Diocese of Evansville, two for the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana and one for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

We must continue to pray for vocations and for our seminarians. Ask the Lord to send more workers for the harvest. And please pray for your priests.

Catholic schools excel

Our archdiocesan schools continue to be recognized for their achievement and commitment to excellence. St. Pius X School in Indianapolis was selected as a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence last month by the U.S. Department of Education. Our schools have earned 22 National Blue Ribbons in the past five years.

Enrollment at our schools continues to increase. We now have more than 23,000 students attending 71 Catholic schools in southern and central Indiana. This makes us the fifth largest school system—public or private—in Indiana.

Celebrating St. Theodora Guérin

It’s been just over a year since our archdiocese and the universal Church celebrated the canonization of St. Theodora Guérin, the founder of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute in 1840.

We honored the legacy of St. Theodora by celebrating a series of Masses throughout the archdiocese this past year. The concluding Mass in this series was held on St. Theodora’s feast day on Oct. 3 at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville. All of these Masses were well attended. Having our own saint, if you will, has strengthened the awareness in our archdiocese of the sacrifices that our ancestors made to give us the beautiful Catholic heritage we enjoy today and all the benefits that come with it.

St. Theodora’s ceaseless prayer and faithfulness continue to be a model for all of us as we work to carry out Christ’s mission throughout our archdiocese.

Strategic planning

We are in the process of putting together a new strategic plan for the archdiocese that will provide us a roadmap for identifying and meeting the challenges we face as an archdiocese for the next three to five years. We have been holding meetings with various groups throughout the archdiocese and have asked for your help in preparing this plan through questions that have appeared in The Criterion. (Please read the strategic planning question on the front page of this week’s Criterion and respond.)

City Future Task Force

Just over a year ago we convened the City Future Task Force. This group, made up of clergy and lay leaders, has spent the past year studying how the archdiocese can best carry out its mission in the downtown Indianapolis area as well as best minister to the growing Hispanic community in the downtown and near downtown area. Two working groups—the Downtown Parish Life Task Force and the Hispanic Ministry Task Force—are preparing recommendations to be delivered to me in the next two to three months.

Catholic Charities

Our six archdiocesan Catholic Charities agencies are going through a process to review each of the nearly 35 programs they operate to serve the most vulnerable in our communities. Motivated by a call issued by Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) to ensure that no member of God’s family goes without the necessities of life, Catholic Charities is working to see that as a Church we are providing the best and right kind of services. We have learned so far from this review process that Catholic Charities needs to collaborate more closely with parishes in the archdiocese. This review will continue in 2008 and you will be hearing more about how we are working to improve our care of the poor and vulnerable among us.

Annual Appeal changes

It’s been nearly 10 years since we combined the local parish stewardship initiative with the United Catholic Appeal into what we know now as Called to Serve: Parish Stewardship and United Catholic Appeal. It’s time to look at our annual appeal to see how we can improve it and freshen it up.

I believe the timing is right for this, because during the Legacy for Our Mission Campaign, we integrated the Called to Serve appeal into the first year of every parish’s campaign. This means that 2004 was the last year that all parishes in the archdiocese conducted Called to Serve at the same time. Next year, we will be rolling out some enhancements in the appeal to re-emphasize stewardship principles, refresh communications, and illustrate the fact that every parish—and, thus, every parishioner—has a role to play in the ministries of our archdiocese. You will be hearing more about this in 2008.


It may seem a ways off, but planning has already begun for the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which we will celebrate in 2009. We plan to have a large celebration at the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in the spring of 2009. You’ll be hearing much more about this in the coming months.

The months leading up to this anniversary provide an opportunity to reflect on our rich history and all that we have to be thankful for. It’s also the perfect time to think about where we are going as an archdiocese as we continue to do God’s work.

Thank you for your support and God bless you!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B.

Archbishop of Indianapolis

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