By now, most folks know that the Archdiocese of Mobile is in the midst of a massive fund-raising campaign called “Generations of Faith.”  I want to offer as much detail as I can about the campaign, its goals and purposes, its time-frame, and Our Savior’s part in it.

The overall goal of the campaign is $30 million, to be pledged and paid over a period of 5 years.  60% of this money is to be designated (in equal proportions) to education of seminarians and care for retired priests.  13% will be dedicated to youth ministry within the Archdiocese, and 20% is to be returned to the parishes for specific (and approved) projects.  The remainder (7%) is the cost of the project itself, paid to the fund-raising company, Community Counseling Services (CCS).

The expense for a year of educating and forming young men for the priesthood is as great as that of a year in any private college/university—about $50,000.  With 20+ seminarians “in the pipeline,” it’s easy to see how this adds up.  And with aging clergy (including yours truly!), health care alone is also expensive.  Funds have in the past been available for these expenses, including and especially parish assessments to pay for priests’ retirement, but we are told these funds no longer suffice.  This is the reason for establishing a foundation for these needs.

The goal of support for parishes involves projects approved by the Archbishop.  Here at Our Savior, the project so approved is the completion of the covered walkway, at least to the main entrance of the church office, and hopefully to the back entrance of Jennings Hall.

Youth ministry support is primarily aimed at supplying scholarship funds for events that the Archdiocese puts on—SEARCH weekends, ACYC, and (I think) the March for Life in Washington, DC.

The assessment for Our Savior for this overall campaign is $820,000, payable over 5 years.  The number is based on our overall budget income from years 2016-18 and parishioner contributions over that same time-frame (information we were required to share).  Everyone, it is hoped, will pledge some amount; parish priests are in fact expected to make a significant pledge (this would NOT come from parish funds).

This is a large commitment:  our goal, annually, would be $164K/year, and this is already about 27% more than our annual Catholic Charities goal.  Can we do this?  It will be difficult; without a doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is a major player in our ability.  We shall see…

There will be ongoing messages and contacts and conversations in the next few months leading up to the end of our portion of the campaign, in early February 2021.  Let’s see what needs to be done, what we can do, and what we will do.  In the meantime, let’s pray that seminarian costs go up for us because of an increase in vocations; let’s pray that retired priests can be taken care of with dignity; let’s pray that young people will feel (and be) affirmed; let’s pray that our parish will continue to thrive long after the pandemic is a faint memory.