by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Extraordinary needs call for an extraordinary response, which is why the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has launched a $65 million capital campaign.
This expansive effort, if it goes according to plan, will benefit all Catholics within the archdiocese — through their parishes, ministries, services and archdiocesan institutions.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann talked about the campaign with the priests of the archdiocese at a meeting held April 12 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The campaign was discussed earlier at an archdiocesan curia meeting on April 4.
The name of the two-and-one-half-year campaign is: “One Faith. One Family. One Future in Christ.”
Noting that he’ll celebrate his 69th birthday in June, Archbishop Naumann told the gathered priests that there are some important matters he needs to attend to now, rather than deferring them to his successor.
“If I don’t, the next bishop will inherit them, and that’s neither fair nor good for him,” he said.
It’s not only his successor, said Archbishop Naumann, but all Catholics in northeast Kansas who will have to address these inevitable needs, so it’s better to take care of them sooner rather than later.
“This campaign will serve as a powerful sign of our unity as Catholics, our strength as a family of faith, and our desire to leave a strong and holy church for future generations of disciples,” he said.
Campaign gifts will be used for needs grouped into four categories.
The first category concerns parishes, schools and evangelization. This includes helping parishes resolve issues relating to buildings and other property resulting from consolidations and changing demographics.
The second category involves priests’ retirement. Gifts will be used to beef up the pension program, establish a priests’ retirement facility and an endowment.
The third category entails serving the elderly. This provides funds to purchase and make capital improvements to Villa St. Francis in Olathe, and to continue providing care to those who need Catholic health services in a Catholic retirement community.
The fourth category concerns improvements to Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. This includes improving accessibility and upgrading building systems.
Some contributions will fund campaign operations.
The last time the archdiocese launched a capital campaign was 17 years ago under Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher and was called “A Future Full of Hope.” Catholics in northeastern Kansas still enjoy its benefits, said Archbishop Naumann.
Archbishop leads the way
The campaign quietly began in January with the “leadership gifts” phase, which will continue until July 2019. During this phase, Archbishop Naumann has solicited gifts from persons who have historically been major donors.
“In terms of my efforts so far, I’m pleased to say we have had our first $1 million gift received, so we’re a million dollars in at this point,” he said.
There are also a number of strong verbal commitments to be announced pending more formal documentation.
In addition to the one-on-one personal visits he is conducting during the leadership phase, Archbishop Naumann will also meet with other people at small receptions in an effort to get pacesetting commitments.
“Based on these early results, I’m encouraged very much that we’ll be able to hit that $15 million leadership gifts goal,” he said. “I can’t guarantee it, but I can guarantee that I’m going to work as hard as I can to make it happen.”
To put this goal into context, the Archbishop’s Private Appeal raised just shy of $14 million for Catholic education.
But the success of the campaign depends on participation by everyone. Every gift, regardless of size, is important.
“The widow’s mite is a powerful thing,” said Archbishop Naumann.
Campaign is parish-oriented
Because needs and capacity vary according to parish, each parish will conduct its own campaign as part of the larger, archdiocesan-wide effort.
Each parish will have a campaign field director provided by the archdiocese through the campaign office. The campaign field director will recruit and train volunteers, lead weekly meetings, prepare solicitation materials and provide a communications plan.
Parishioners will be asked for gifts through face-to-face meetings, receptions, direct-mail appeals and in-pew requests.
A participation incentive is built into the campaign. Each parish will keep 25 percent of funds raised up to its assigned target. Those funds can be used for whatever the parish leadership determines to be its greatest need.
“That 25 percent going back to the parish will help you to do a lot of things,” the archbishop said. “Not just capital things, but also for those operating schools to help strengthen the school portion — [or] maybe making an endowment or contributing to an existing endowment.”
Parishes that have special requests — such as conducting a specific fundraising event in conjunction with the campaign — will have their request reviewed by a Priest Advisory Committee.
Pastors have an important role to play if the campaign is to be successful, said Archbishop Naumann. Pastors must lead by example.
And this begins with himself, he said. He announced his own sacrificial gift to the campaign and urged pastors to do the same.
“I think it will be important for you [pastors] . . . to make some sort of sacrificial gift yourself and to set that example,” he said. “It’s important [for parishioners] to know that you’re not just asking them to give but to make some sort of sacrifice yourself.”
The necessity of meeting the needs of individual parishes and the archdiocese as a whole, as presented by Archbishop Naumann, made a lot of sense, said Father Tim Haberkorn, who attended the meeting.
“Everything that was listed is important,” said Father Haberkorn, pastor of Sacred Heart-St. Joseph Parish in Topeka. “There wasn’t anything on the list that I questioned the importance of addressing.”
“Archbishop Naumann presented a great breakdown of everything,” he continued. “I thought it was very enlightening.”
Father Haberkorn entered the meeting thinking this was “just another campaign.” But by the time it concluded, he was convinced. He thinks parishioners will support it, too.
“I think once it’s explained to most of our Catholic families, they will be generous,” said Father Haberkorn.
“If they see the needs, they will respond generously,” he added. “I left the meeting feeling very supportive.”