In the life of every individual there are certain defining moments that determine the course of one’s life. In the same way, in the life of a parish these defining moments not only trace its future course but also enhance or diminish its flourishing. I believe that right now we are living through one of those defining moments in our history. Our centennial year was one such moment.
Almost fifteen years ago our parish lived through a significant moment. Under the able leadership of Fr Carl, parishioners decided that it was time to enhance the life of the parish. They rallied together to raise huge funds – even at the cost of great sacrifice – to add to the upper grade school building and to construct a new gym. Probably there was a certain amount of resistance to the plan. In the end the dream was fulfilled and over the last fifteen years the parish has reaped the benefits.
Just think of the athletic events that have taken place in that gym. Imagine the character formation that was given to so many boys and girls in their formative years. Think of the numerous parish meetings and gatherings that have used that space. Think of the growth of the school because of the addition of new space. Ponder for a moment how the parish has grown thanks to that capital campaign. I would like to remind you that over the last six years our parish has grown by about 800 families.
Right now we are embarking on one of those special moments in the life of the parish. Believe me when I say that I did not want to do a capital campaign. In the many years I have been in this country I have seen the turmoil a campaign can cause in a parish. I have witnessed the struggle of pastors to raise the funds and carry out the projects. Honestly I was not on board to do a campaign.
Even when we finished our centennial year I was not convinced that we should initiate a capital drive. I knew that, filled with gratitude for God’s blessings, we should do something to guarantee the long-term vibrancy of the parish. I was hesitant. The Parish Pastoral Council, whose main scope is to envision the future, concluded that certain projects should be carried out. They were certain that those initiatives would reinforce our strengths and address our deficiencies. I was still not ready to jump in.
It was then that the archdiocese directed all parishes to mount a campaign to create an endowment “To Teach Who Christ Is” and to complete certain improvements in the parishes themselves. In obedience to that directive we started our campaign. The only goal in embracing these projects is to enhance the life of the parish and to help our parishioners to live their faith better. None of these are my “pet” projects.
As I always say, the parish belongs to the people as much as it belongs to the priests and to the pastor. We priests come and go. You will always be here. Most probably your children and your grandchildren will make their home here. We hope and pray that all these improvements that we are undertaking will benefit future generations. The fruits of the sacrifices we make today will endure for a long time.
From the response we have gotten thus far I can honestly say that the parish is embracing the campaign enthusiastically. In the pre-public phase, I personally approached certain major donors. Every one of them expressed to me their happiness in being part of the parish and their willingness to contribute. These major donors have given to date in pledges and gifts more than $1.4 million. Right now the total amount received in pledges and gifts stands at $1.8 million. The vast majority of the pledges have not yet come in.
At this stage both the campaign committee and I are very optimistic. We believe that we will not only reach the archdiocesan and our enhanced goals. We think that we will exceed them. I invite each and every one of you to join in. Together let us build the future.
I do hope that you are praying for the campaign. Please do not forget to pray the Campaign Prayer with your family. Do pray to St Joseph, our patron.
May we make our own these words from our campaign prayer:
Help us to give of ourselves to our community of faith,
never counting the cost, never minding the sacrifice.
Grateful for your bountiful gifts and mindful of future generations,
we promise to give generously of our resources
and thus guarantee the vibrancy and longevity of St Paul of the Cross Parish.
May we by our word and example teach Who Christ is!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...