Just as the Diocese of Nashville’s A Legacy of Faith, Hope and Love Campaign is setting up endowments to support needs that affect people of all ages, St. Henry Church is preparing to do the same with its share of the campaign, which will go toward several projects that will better serve the needs of the parish community.
Those plans were announced during kick-off weekend for Wave Two of the campaign March 26-27, and include an early childhood development center, which will serve as a natural flow into St. Henry School, a youth and young adult center, and a columbarium to hold funerary urns.
“We’ve been dreaming with the community, and we’re working on a five-year strategic plan … and the money that we raise with this campaign will be seed money for some of these projects,” said Father Mark Beckman, pastor of St. Henry. “This (campaign) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really prepare for the future in this diocese, so we’re dreaming big about the future and planning for the things that matter most.”
The $50 million A Legacy of Faith, Hope and Love Campaign is a diocesan-wide fundraising initiative to build up endowments to support in perpetuity parishes, schools, ministries and agencies of the diocese.
The historic campaign, with the assistance of Steier Group, is raising money to create new endowments or enhance existing endowments to provide future revenue for five key priorities: individual parish needs; Catholic education; vocations; parish growth and expansion; and outreach to those in need.
Money raised toward the campaign goal will be split up among the five key priorities as follows: 25 percent for parishes; 40 percent for Catholic education; 15 percent for vocations; 10 percent for parish growth and expansion; and 10 percent for outreach to those in need.
The campaign is being rolled out at churches across the diocese in three waves, with a different group of churches in each wave. As of late March, the campaign is closing in on $31 million raised.
“If our parishioners are like me, the priorities that we have identified at the diocesan level are already very important, so vocations matter a lot, parishes matter a lot, concern for the poor matters a lot, and Catholic schools matter a lot,” Father Beckman said. “But also, here at St. Henry, I think our community has gotten very excited about dreaming about where we might be going as a community of faith and planting ourselves in this local community for our future.”
During the kick-off weekend, campaign committees had different ways of getting the word out to their parishioners. St. Henry hosted a reception after each of the Masses.
“The more people that know about the campaign, the more they can feel like they’re part of it,” said Dawn Moore, member of the Parish Council Education Committee at St. Henry. “This campaign is going to meet a wide-range of needs and a wide-range of ages and family types.
“If it appeals to everybody, everybody can feel a part of it as the Church itself and a diocese,” she said. “We’re meeting the needs of not just the parish, but the diocese as a whole; we’re meeting the 2-year-old to the 90-year-old, and that’s a win.”
Joe Elcan, a parishioner at St. Henry, said he and his wife, Mary, have been “congruent with everything that we’ve heard.”
“The ability for 90-plus percent of the money to go to the people who need it versus administration and various overheads, that’s critical and that’s what makes a difference,” Joe Elcan said. “There are a lot of people in need and most of us at St. Henry have been wildly blessed, so the need here is not nearly as deep as the needs elsewhere, so we’ve got to share our abundance.”
St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fayetteville had the promotional video for the campaign on a loop in the Church vestibule before and after each of the weekend Masses. Additionally, Cathy Berger, liaison for St. Anthony pastor Father George Panthananickal, CMI, and the campaign committee, was there to answer questions.
“I love all the specific funds the campaign is going to,” Berger said.
Additionally, she had resources available including a pamphlet that specifically detailed how St. Anthony will benefit, including funds for building maintenance and repair and debt reduction for the St. Anthony Catholic Faith Formation Center, which opened in May 2021.
“Over the years, our parish has been the beneficiary of many gifts that have helped us expand our programs and activities. As a body of believers, we collectively work to reflect the loving concern of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. To be one with Christ and community is a unifying desire of St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish,” according to the pamphlet. “Our parish vision statement was developed to reflect our values and our ministry. … Supporting the Legacy Campaign, with priorities such as helping our neighbors in need, Catholic education and vocations, provides an opportunity for us to live our mission and vision.”
The diocese provided grants to the church to be able to open the center, which includes a gym, a kitchen and several classrooms for CCD and adult formation classes.
Father Panthananickal said he believes parishioners will understand that “the diocese really helped us, so we need to help the diocese.”
At Our Lady of the Lake in Hendersonville, following the viewing of the promotional video, Father Austin Gilstrap, pastor and diocesan director of the Office of Vocations, addressed parishioners at the end of each Mass.
Parish shares for Our Lady of the Lake will go towards several improvements, including a new sound system, new carpeting, lights in the parking lot, resurfacing the parking lot, construction for a new pre-school and more.
“I never ask people to do things I wouldn’t do myself,” Father Gilstrap said. “As a leader of our community, I have already made a gift to this campaign, which is sacrificial for me: a gift which hurts a little, which will affect the way I live my life for the next few years.
“I ask you to consider doing the same,” he said. “There is no question in my mind that this Legacy Campaign and what we’re doing is worth me being uncomfortable for a few years.”
Other Wave Two parishes that kicked off and will continue kicking off in the coming weeks include St. Martha Church in Ashland City, St. Lawrence Church in Joelton, St. John the Evangelist Church in Lewisburg, Immaculate Conception Church in Pulaski, St. Catherine Church in Columbia, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and St. Pius X Church in Nashville, St. Philip Church in Franklin, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Dover, Sacred Heart Church in Lawrenceburg, Sacred Heart Church in Loretto, and St. Joseph Church in St. Joseph.
Wave Three of the campaign will begin preparing in late spring followed by kick-off weekends beginning in late summer.
Steier Group, a capital campaign fundraising firm out of Omaha, Nebraska, has assisted dioceses in similar campaigns all around the country. Corporate donations have covered the fees for Steier Group to assist the diocese in managing the campaign.
For more information, visit dioceseofnashville.com/legacy.