November 7, 2008

Celebration marks generosity of Catholics in southern Indiana

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein delivers a homily during an Oct. 28 Mass at Huber’s Winery in Clark County as part of a celebration of the success of the Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future capital stewardship campaign. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein delivers a homily during an Oct. 28 Mass at Huber’s Winery in Clark County as part of a celebration of the success of the Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future capital stewardship campaign. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

CLARK COUNTY—On a beautiful fall evening marked by crisp autumn air, a crystal clear sky and colorful leaves, Catholics from across southern Indiana gathered on Oct. 28 with Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein at Huber’s Winery in Clark County to celebrate the success of the Legacy for Our Mission: For Our Children and the Future capital stewardship campaign.

The evening began with a celebration of the Eucharist.

“Tonight is a night of thanksgiving,” Archbishop Buechlein said at the start of the Mass. “Thanksgiving to God for the marvelous blessings that he bestows on our Church in southern and central Indiana, thanksgiving to God for the generosity of so many folks like yourself. You help us carry on the mission of our archdiocese.”

Keeping focused on the long term

After the Mass, Jeffrey Stumpf, the archdiocese’s chief financial officer, gave a presentation on the relationship of Legacy for Our Mission to the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF), which manages 356 endowments that support the ministry of archdiocesan parishes, schools and agencies.

Stumpf noted that $13 million of the $104 million pledged in the campaign were dedicated to the endowments managed by CCF.

He also spoke about the effects of the volatility in U.S. stock markets over the past year on the endowments.

In the last quarter alone, which ended on Sept. 30, CCF’s assets dropped in value by 9 percent to a total value of $141 million.

Stumpf said that because of increased market volatility in October that figure will have dropped even more.

Nevertheless, he was optimistic about the future of the endowments managed by CCF. He noted that the stock markets were coming out of one of the worst decades in their history and that he expected them to perform better in the years to come.

“This does illustrate the value of having a long-term perspective and not panicking in a three- or six- or 12-month period, but to stay the course and keep focused on the long-term,” Stumpf said. “I think if we can avoid the distractions and avoid some of the market panic, we will be rewarded going forward to offset some of the pain we’ve felt over the last 12 to 18 months.”

Southern generosity

In remarks after the Mass, Archbishop Buechlein noted the generosity shown by many Catholics in three counties in the southern part of the archdiocese.

“In Clark, Floyd and Harrison counties alone, more than 4,500 individuals and families in 19 parishes contributed nearly $20.6 million to the Legacy for Our Mission campaign,” the archbishop said. “That’s an outstanding number.”

Deacon John Thompson, who ministers at St. Augustine Parish in Jeffersonville and who assisted the archbishop at the evening’s Mass, was gratified to learn about his fellow New Albany Deanery Catholics’ generosity.

“That makes me proud,” Deacon Thompson said. “They’re putting their faith into action. It’s not just all talk.”

Father John Geis, pastor of St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Parish in Floyd County, spoke during the evening celebration about his parish raising more than $8 million to build a new church and parish life center. (Related story: Campaign still helps parishes, agencies focus on the future)

Members of other parishes in the area that are planning great improvements because of Legacy for Our Mission were also on hand.

Dennis Ernst, a member of St. Michael Parish in Bradford, spoke to The Criterion about how his New Albany Deanery faith community was scheduled to break ground on Nov. 2 for the construction of a new parish life center and an addition to and renovation of the parish’s former school.

It’s a $2.5 million project made possible by the generosity of St. Michael’s parishioners in Legacy for Our Mission.

“It’s invigorating,” Ernst said. “It’s such a vibrant parish. [The project] is a real testament to the dedication that this parish has, and the vibrancy and the life that exists within it to further the mission.”

Amy and Carl Duncan, members of Holy Family Parish in New Albany, were excited about some extensive renovations to their parish’s church and school—the first significant upgrades there since it was founded in 1954.

The Duncans were particularly enthused about how the church is being made handicap-accessible because their son uses a wheelchair.

“When we first started going to Holy Family, we had to drive all the way around [the church] to find a way to get him in,” Amy Duncan said. “Now every entrance is wheelchair accessible. It tickles him to death because he can actually come in the front [door] of the church.”

The Duncans both volunteered in the parish to make the campaign a success.

They were among the 14,000 volunteers across the archdiocese who gave of their time to bring Legacy for Our Mission to a successful conclusion.

“That’s an amazing number,” Archbishop Buechlein said about the number of campaign volunteers.

“Think of what a powerhouse that is. The blessings that will come from their continued involvement in their parishes are still to be seen and will be astounding.”

(For more information on Legacy for Our Mission or the Catholic Community Foundation, log on to either or

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