ASKING FOR MONEY IN OUR CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
An Army officer recently asked a soldier: “Do you have change for a dollar?” The soldier replied, “Sure, buddy.” The officer responded, “That’s no way to address an officer! Now, let’s try it again. Soldier, do you have change for a dollar?” To which the soldier replied, “No, SIR!”
Talking about money has never been my favorite thing. In fact, I think I would rather donate a vital organ than ask people for money. I prefer that we concentrate on creating a welcoming community and encouraging everyone to share their time and talent to build up the kingdom of God. And the fact is, we are doing so well in so many areas – we’re becoming more welcoming all the time, we have booming ministries and faith formation programs, and we have many parishioners who are fully engaged at St. Columbkille and are constantly growing closer to Christ. These are all great things!
So, how does asking people to make a sacrificial financial gift fit in, and why has the capital campaign been so prominent these past few months? Well, as your pastor, it’s my job to shepherd this flock, and to pursue the greatest good for our growing parish family. The capital campaign simply addresses a different area of need – our facilities – and I truly believe that each phase has something great to offer the parish:
· Phase 1 is a must because it replaces our aging A/C units and finishes our much-needed parking lot expansion.
· Phase 2 fulfills so many parish needs. Our new parish center includes a brand new and expanded preschool that replaces an aging structure and helps us to better educate our youngest parishioners in the light of their faith. The parish center also will add desperately needed meeting spaces for our many ministries—our parish continues to grow, our ministries are vibrant, and currently we simply do not have enough room for our many youth activities, bible studies, and community support programs. And finally, the new gym will support athletics, to be sure, but it will also foster fellowship as a gathering space for parish musical productions, it will help meet the expanding needs of our religious formation programs for youth and adults, and it will even give us room for a few extra Masses on Christmas and Easter.
· Phase 3 will give us an expanded narthex gathering space where our parish family can comfortably converse before and after Mass, out of the elements and outside of our worship space. Expanding the narthex gives us much-needed space for grieving families during funerals and a place for wedding attendees to gather.
In sum, the 3 phases of our capital campaign are about so much more than just money. We’re about halfway to our goal, and I am thankful. So many people have come forward and given of themselves to this campaign. Yet, we keep asking for people’s prayerful and financial support. Why?
The reason is simple: I believe in the generosity of people’s hearts, I believe in the goals of this campaign, and I believe that God will move the right hearts on His own time. It’s not our job to judge who has or hasn’t given, or how much anyone has given. Our job is simply to give people the opportunity to be generous, and let the Lord handle it from there.
And so, the campaign remains at the forefront of conversation and of the bulletin, not because it’s the only thing we’re focused on, but because we can’t fulfill some really important parish needs without everyone’s participation. I trust in God, but I know He won’t make money grow on trees for me! That is why I have to continue to invite people to participate.
I’ve heard from a lot of different views about the campaign from a lot of different parishioners, and I’m thankful for that. The fact that we have parishioners who are so passionate about seeking the greatest good of the parish is a wonderful thing! Even when we don’t always agree, the very fact that we’re each seeking that greatest good reminds us that we are ultimately on the same team, part of the same family, striving towards heaven together. Let’s work to remember that and give thanks to God for our wonderful parish and for the many things He has blessed us with, both within and outside of this campaign.