by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
Prayers and best wishes to all mothers on this Mother’s Day weekend!
I will be celebrating Mass on Mother’s Day with my mother and the other residents of Mother of Good Counsel Home in St. Louis. It is impossible to express adequately gratitude for those who have not only given us life but have unselfishly sacrificed in so many ways for our welfare.
There is no more important vocation than Christian motherhood. Thank you to all mothers for giving life and, through your faith, giving eternal life to your children through the waters of baptism.
Parishes serving approximately half of the families of the archdiocese are part of the second cohort currently implementing the One Faith, One Family, One Future in Christ campaign. It has been 20 years since the last archdiocesan capital campaign.
Just as we pool our resources for the Archbishop’s Call to Share campaign to provide annual support for the many educational, pastoral and charitable ministries of the archdiocese, periodically we need to pool our resources to address some extraordinary needs of the archdiocese.
This June, I will turn 70. In five years (if the Lord continues to give me good health), I must submit my resignation to the Holy Father.
This reality motivated me to consider: What are some of the crucial capital and ministerial needs in the archdiocese? What are some of the challenges that, if left unaddressed, the next archbishop will have to figure out a way to fund or close down programs and facilities.
An important objective in conducting such an archdiocesan-wide campaign was to make certain that it helped strengthen our parishes and parochial schools. That is why almost one third of the campaign ($21 million) will assist parishes address their particular needs.
For parishes operating a parochial elementary school, they may choose to direct all or a portion of the income from the campaign to help with capital improvements or scholarship funds for the school.
If we reach our overall goal of $65 million, then $16 million (one fourth of campaign donations) will remain in parishes to meet the local needs of that church family. An additional $5 million will be available to parishes that have recently gone through consolidations to assist with the repurposing or, in some cases, demolition of buildings.
The next biggest beneficiary of the campaign is priest retirement. When I arrived in the archdiocese 15 years ago, some of our priests expressed a desire for a retirement residence for priests. Many dioceses offer this option for priests.
The Nebraska dioceses of Omaha and Lincoln have excellent communal retirement residences for priests. The Diocese of Wichita has one of the best priest retirement facilities in the country.
Based on current market investment assumptions, the campaign will: 1) fully fund our current retirement commitment for priests; 2) modestly increase the retirement benefit for all priests; 3) build a communal retirement residence for priests; and 4) endow the new priests’ residence in order to help fund operating costs and future capital maintenance. The total amount from the campaign devoted to priests’ retirement is $17 million.
This campaign offers the opportunity to express in a very concrete way love and support for the vast majority of our priests who serve the people of God with fidelity, generosity, zeal and heroic sacrifice.
Providing for the retirement of priests is really the obligation of the parishes where they serve. The only other way to fund the retirement for priests is to increase the annual contribution to priests’ retirement by parishes.
This element of the campaign benefits all parishes, but especially rural parishes, where a higher percentage per capita of our priests serve than in our larger suburban and urban parishes.
One of the beautiful ministries in our archdiocese is Villa St. Francis in Olathe which provides skilled nursing and memory care for the elderly as well as short-term rehabilitation. It has received a five-star rating (the highest possible) from the Commission for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The 180-bed facility is always near maximum capacity, with usually 75-80% of the residents Medicaid-funded. Villa St. Francis, in addition to quality medical care, provides daily Mass for the residents and has on staff two different religious communities of Sisters who are trained nurses.
The archdiocese does not own the facility but is in a long-term lease arrangement. The campaign will provide $10 million to Villa St. Francis, allowing the archdiocese both to purchase the facility and make significant capital improvements equipping Villa St. Francis to serve the elderly for future decades.
The One Faith, One Family, One Future in Christ campaign will also provide $10 million to Savior Pastoral Center, allowing us to make the signature facility for the archdiocese accessible to those with mobility limitations, as well as to renew the infrastructure and enhance the capacity and the quality of the facility.
Originally built as a high school seminary, it annually hosts more than 60,000 individuals for retreats, conferences and meetings. Our diaconate formation, Spiritual Mentorship Program, English and Spanish Cursillo retreats, Marriage Encounter and Retrovaille weekends, Kairos retreats for youth, and a wide range of other pastoral and spiritual activities all take place at Savior Pastoral Center.
The final case element of the campaign is $1 million to support our evangelization efforts. Though it is the smallest dollar amount of any of the components of the campaign, it is most important according to our pastoral priorities. A portion of this amount will be used to help make affordable this October’s Enflame Our Hearts conference that will help form evangelization leadership teams for each of our parishes.
This will be the single most important pastoral event during my tenure in the archdiocese. The evangelization fund from One Faith, One Family, One Future in Christ will also be used to fund archdiocesan-wide communication and other programs to support evangelization efforts in our parishes.
Last year’s first cohort of parishes to conduct the One Faith, One Family, One Future in Christ campaign invited 10,000 of our families to make a sacrificial gift, raising more than $10 million.
If we can keep that pace with the remaining 50,000 households, with God’s help our ambitious campaign goal is within reach.
The word “one” is intentionally repeated three times in the campaign theme. The campaign gives tangible evidence of the unity of our archdiocese.
Though not every parish or every individual will benefit from every element of the campaign case, every parish and every parishioner will benefit from the campaign. Just as the early church pooled its resources to care for the entire community, so we are uniting together to do something beautiful for God!
Please join me in prayer and entrust our campaign efforts to the patron of our archdiocese, Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception! May all that we do be for the glory of her Son, Jesus Christ, and the building up of his kingdom in northeast Kansas!