Archdiocese Local

Capital campaign overcomes historic challenges; archbishop praises parishioners’ generosity

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann gives an update on the status of the archdiocesan capital campaign at a recent meeting. Despite falling just short of its goal, the archbishop declared the campaign a success. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When the “One Faith. One Family. One Future . . . in Christ” capital campaign was launched in spring 2018, the hope was that it would address the critical needs of the archdiocese now and in the future.

As the campaign now moves into its final act, the collection phase, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann shared his thoughts about how those hopes turned out.

“When you look at our overall goal, which was $65 million, we fell short of that significantly. But I feel the campaign was extremely successful,” said Archbishop Naumann.

The archbishop considers the campaign successful because it raised significant funds despite facing two unique challenges.

The first challenge was the second wave of the abuse crisis in the wider church, which occurred soon after the launch of the campaign. The second challenge was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had an especially big impact on the final one-third of parishes that participated.

There is a third factor to consider as well. Most dioceses suspend their annual collection during such large campaigns, but the archdiocese went ahead with Archbishop’s Call to Share to support archdiocesan ministries.

Despite the challenges, the “One Faith” campaign generated $42.7 million in pledges with an additional $21.3 million raised by the 11 parish co-campaigns, bringing the total to $64 million. When the $6 million raised by ACTS is taken into account, it can be seen that archdiocesan Catholics gave generously, said Archbishop Naumann.

Hopes realized

One campaign success was fully funding construction of a priests’ retirement home near Santa Marta in Overland Park and an endowment for the home. This, said Archbishop Naumann, is a tangible expression by archdiocesan Catholics of their love for their priests, wanting them to have a happy and dignified retirement.

He expects the priests’ pension fund will be fully funded, too.

“We believe we’ll be able to fund the priests’ pension fund because we have received the pledges,” said the archbishop.

One campaign success was fully funding construction of a priests’ retirement home (seen in rendering above) near Santa Marta in Overland Park and an endowment for the home.

The priests’ retirement facility will be a freestanding building located due west of the Santa Marta retirement facility in Olathe, said Dan Himmelberg, archdiocesan director of real estate and construction. An architect has produced preliminary plans and a groundbreaking has been planned for fall 2021.

“They earmarked $5.2 million for it, hard and fast,” said Himmelberg. “We designed for the full 12 units, but we anticipate building only 10 at this point. The other two are for the future.”

Although the full targeted amount was collected for the priests’ retirement home, the big increase in the cost of construction materials required this adjustment in the number of units to keep to the budget.

“[The increase] has greatly impacted the building of the facility,” said Father Jerry Volz, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Lawrence and board member of the group building the facility. “As most people know, the cost of lumber alone has gone up several hundred percent in the last year. Our design costs are far over the original estimate. So, at this point, the team is making a lot of adjustments to find ways to build the facility as intended with the amount of money we have.”

A second campaign success was raising $1 million for evangelization.

“The smallest dollar amount [of the campaign], but actually the most important thing in terms of our priorities, was the evangelization commitment,” said Archbishop Naumann. “It was not insignificant — $1 million — but it helped us to partially fund the [October 2019] convocation and make it affordable and accessible to parishes.”

In addition to the convocation, the monies raised for evangelization have been used to fund two convocations for archdiocesan schoolteachers and the ongoing Enflame Spark sessions.

“I’m grateful we held that convocation before COVID,” said the archbishop. “We would have had to cancel or delay it if it was during COVID. But it also gave our pastors a team of really motivated and committed Catholics to help them during the pandemic to reach out to parishioners to keep the communities together, assist the pastors, nourish their communities and find ways to ‘keep the family together’ through the pandemic.”

The October 2019 Enflame convocation was a huge success made possible by the capital campaign. Enflame trained and energized lay Catholics in evangelization techniques. In many cases, it resulted in teams of committed Catholics eager and able to assist their pastors during the pandemic. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

The 11 parish co-campaigns were another success.

“We also allowed for these co-campaigns, where parishes could present to a committee of priests their desire to do a campaign where they would commit to making a certain goal that would go to the archdiocesan campaign, and the rest raised would address some capital need of the parish,” said the archbishop. “Those parishes raised $27.7 million, $6.4 of which went to the archdiocesan campaign, but the $21.3 million stayed in those parishes.”

Still another successful part of the campaign was the money raised for parish projects. Each parish received 25% of the campaign proceeds it pledged to be used for the most important needs of their parish.

It was hoped that money from the campaign would allow for the purchase of Villa St. Francis in Olathe. This will be done, but not in the way originally envisioned.

“One [campaign goal] that was altered . . . was Villa St. Francis,” said Archbishop Naumann. “We originally were hoping to put $10 million into Villa St. Francis, with over $5 million of that to purchase it outright.

“So instead of doing that, we are purchasing it by assuming the loan from HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) at a very favorable interest rate that we’ll be able to pay down over years. But we’ll have ownership of the building. And we will put in almost $5 million in facility improvements. That money is collected.”

Paying down the debt will be less expensive than the current lease arrangements, thus benefiting operations at the care center.

Hopes partially funded

One part of the campaign that fell short was the property revitalization fund, which was to help consolidated parishes deal with excess buildings that no longer serve their needs.

“The other [need] only partially funded was property revitalization,” said Archbishop Naumann. “We were hoping to raise $5 million, but we believe we’ll have $2.8 million for that purpose.

“I’m hoping some people might step forward and help us raise that additional $2.2 million so we can do everything we were hoping to do to help parishes. Again, these are parishes that have had consolidations and we want to get them with the right facilities to serve their community.”

Additionally, another part of the campaign that fell short was raising $10 million for Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

“Right now, we can’t do everything we hoped to do,” said the archbishop. “I hope we’ll find a way to do, at least, in stages, some improvements. We need to make it accessible, and we need to renew the infrastructure of the facility. But we won’t be able to do it through campaign resources.”

Awed and edified

The willingness of archdiocesan Catholics to overcome obstacles to the campaign — particularly in a time of pandemic — impressed the archbishop. The significant sacrifices made by many people, which led to the success of the campaign, left him “awed and edified,” Archbishop Naumann said.

“By any measurement, the campaign has been a big success,” he said. “I commend our pastors and parishes, and especially our lay leaders, who helped the pastors with our leadership of this.

“The generosity of the people of the archdiocese never fails to inspire me, and we’re really grateful to everyone who made a pledge.”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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