Historic initiative will fund three essential pillars of the church in Western New York, reshaping and strengthening the funding of key ministries and programs
The Diocese of Buffalo, which has served the spiritual, pastoral and educational needs of Western New York for more than 150 years, today launched "Upon This Rock," a historic initiative to reshape and strengthen the funding of key ministries and programs of the church throughout the eight-county diocese.
The Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, was joined by campaign volunteer lay leaders, pastors, women religious, parishioners, donors and other supporters at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda this morning to introduce the $100 million capital and endowment campaign.
"As a Catholic community, we are asked to come together to establish a robust culture of evangelization and stewardship, and a vibrant future throughout Western New York," Malone said. "This endeavor will transform the way we support our missions and ministerial works in perpetuity, and move us into the 21st century as a flourishing church that is proud to evangelize and equipped to serve our community. It will help ensure our ability to continue to effectively carry out the Lord's mission of service."
While various individual parishes have conducted capital campaigns and increased offertory initiatives over the years, Malone said "Upon This Rock" is the first of its size and scope for the Diocese of Buffalo.
"We need to think about how the church can build upon its strong foundation and prepare for the future, ensuring that a vibrant and healthy Catholic community is in place for current and future generations," Malone said.
The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will manage and administer the campaign and the endowments it establishes. Richard C. Suchan, executive director of the foundation, explained "Upon This Rock" will support three essential pillars of the church in Western New York - "Those We Serve," "Those Who Serve" and "How We Serve."
"Over the next five years, funds raised from this effort will provide a foundation for transforming the way we tend to the pastoral, educational and social service needs of God's people in the diocese," Suchan said. "With the partnership of our clergy and lay leaders, each of our 164 parishes will participate in the campaign, and every Catholic household will be asked to consider participation."
Suchan said nearly $29 million has been raised to date through the generosity of major donors as part of the initial silent phase of the campaign and the participation of eight parishes that helped pilot the effort.
The three pillars and campaign financial goals for "Upon This Rock" include:
'Those We Serve'
Strengthening parishes as the center of the faith community, while providing pastoral care and outreach across the diocese through evangelization and stewardship.
•Parish life and ministries - $35 million
•Parish support endowment - $5 million
'Those Who Serve'
Investing in the formation and education of the next generation of clergy and lay leaders and providing essential care for retired diocesan priests.
•Christ the King Seminary - $8 million
•Health care for retired diocesan priests - $7 million
•St. Joseph Cathedral - $2 million
'How We Serve'
Supporting the works of Catholic Charities and increasing availability of high-quality, modern Catholic education.
•Charitable works - $10 million
Diocesan officials said a comprehensive feasibility and planning study was conducted during the summer of 2014, and included in-depth discussions with hundreds of members of the clergy, laity and Diocesan leadership.
More than 550 people in the Catholic community of Western New York contributed through one-on-one interviews, phone interviews and online surveys. Diocesan leaders, clergy, laity and other stakeholders provided valuable insight that formed the basis for this campaign.
After a period of extensive prayer and inquiry, and based on the views expressed in the feasibility and planning study, as well as upon the recommendations of the priest's advisory committee, the goal was set at $100 million with funds to be distributed to each of those priority areas, as selected based upon urgency of need as well as potential for impact.
For more information about "Upon This Rock" contact the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese at Buffalo at 716-847-8740 or visit http://www.UponThisRockWNY.org.
The Diocese of Buffalo spans almost 6,500 square miles and encompasses eight counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming. The diocese numbers more than 600,000 Catholic individuals served by 164 parishes. Its 49 Catholic schools provide a faith-based education to more than 15,000 students, and 29,100 youth are currently enrolled in religious education programs. The diocese has nearly 400 priests, 266 of whom are active at this time; 819 women religious; 134 deacons; and a wealth of lay leaders and committed volunteers who serve God's people every day. The social, pastoral and ministerial works of the diocese provide spiritual support and outreach services to more than 500,000 people in need, of all faiths and backgrounds, each year.
The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is a nonprofit entity that acquires, administers and distributes funds to benefit the educational, religious and charitable needs of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. In partnership with the donor, it provides responsible and professional financial management of funds while assisting donors in achieving their charitable and financial goals. The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo protects and enhances this financial commitment as it seeks to meet the ongoing and long-term financial needs of the programs and services provided by the diocese.