The public phase of the Rebuild My Church Capital Campaign officially kicked off the weekend of Aug. 28-29 with the announcement that efforts from the silent phase of the campaign have generated over $3.2 million in pledges and outright gifts. Funds raised will be used to renovate and repair our parish's many campus buildings.
“This is a fantastic start to a campaign that our parish needs so much,” said Tina Lee, a campaign co-chair with her husband, Ron, who added “Our parish is blessed with many generous givers, and I feel it is an opportunity for so many more to embrace the stewardship way of life and reap its rewards.”
“Rebuild My Church is a culmination of what parishioners told us they wanted to see in our parish during the Faith Forward visioning process, which included a comprehensive building assessment,” said Rev. C. Jarrod Lies, pastor.
Through the Faith Forward process five years ago, our parish developed the goal of growing discipleship at the parish through evangelization, stewardship and parish operations. The Rebuild My Church campaign addresses improvements and repairs to the facilities, which falls under parish operations.
Rebuild My Church projects include roof repair and air conditioner replacement at various campus buildings, restroom updates in the school and church, new flooring and pews in the church, and improved energy efficiency through new windows and LED lights. Renovations include a new center entrance into the church and creation of a hallway to Clare Hall, a new adult education center and gathering space with a bride’s room, and renovations to Clare Hall that will increase capacity and functionality.
“We established a building fund two years ago to begin tackling these maintenance projects,” said Pat Burns, director of stewardship and finance. “But to accomplish everything, at the rate we were going, would have taken a decade to complete. Many of these projects couldn’t wait that long.
The building fund has helped with renovations to the bell tower, a new soundboard and microphones in the church, repairs to roofs of some campus buildings, and HVAC updates, such as those completed in Clare Hall this summer. Funds from Rebuild My Church will immediately be used as other updates are already scheduled or in process.
“Over the years, we have had to defer significant expenses,” said Travis Pearson, director of parish life. “Some of them have been put off too long. In doing so, however, it was always because we were focusing on our people – by providing a quality, Catholic education for our students at SFA and Bishop Carroll, ensuring just raises for our teachers and staff, providing parishioners with more ministry opportunities and pastoral support. We have always put our people ahead of buildings. However, we are now at a point where many needs of the parish cannot be put off any longer – we have structures and equipment failing.”
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church was founded in 1959, and it is nationally known as the parish where the “stewardship way of life” was established by Msgr. Tom McGread in 1970. The stewardship way of life concept involves an attitude of thanksgiving for all that God has given each of us and in return giving back to God a portion of one’s time, talent and treasure.
“I am pleased with how our families have responded during the silent phase,” Fr. Lies said. “St. Francis is our spiritual home, and I have been humbled at the stewardship of our parishioners, moved by the stories some of them told me, and grateful for the questions asked of me during my visits with them.”
“Getting to this point has been a deliberate process, but to do things the right way takes time, prayer and community involvement,” said Chris Davis, a campaign co-chair with his wife, Megan. “As a parish, we have definitely done our due diligence.”
Additional details about the updates and renovations and how to give to the campaign will be mailed to parishioners the week of Aug. 29. Parishioners should look for a large, white envelope in the mail with “Rebuild My Church” in the return address.
“I want to thank all parishioners who have so generously supported St. Francis over the years and, in particular, during Rebuild My Church,” Fr. Lies said. “There is still a lot of work left to accomplish everything we would like, so it is my hope all parishioners will prayerfully consider a sacrificial gift supporting the campaign, and that they will make a pledge or gift that is meaningful to them.”
Andy Ryba, Steier Group