Defining moments in the
Spiritual (spir-i-choo-el) ... Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit.
Legacy (leg-e-se) ... Something handed on from those who have come before.
The next several months will truly define the past, present and future of the Sioux City Diocese. That's because the "Centennial Campaign for Excellence," which started this fall, is now in full swing. By June 2002, all of the diocese's 124 parishes will have raised $20 million in pledges that go above and beyond the weekly offering.
As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking.
The first step was to conduct research to find out what was needed and how much it would cost. The second step was to hire a development firm. The diocese selected the Steier Group, an Omaha-based development firm, to manage two things: a feasibility study and the campaign itself. Jim Steier, president of the firm, is lead consultant for the project.
"The Centennial Campaign is particularly rewarding for our company because we are a Catholic firm," Steier said. "In addition, we are excited to assist with such a visionary effort. The funds contributed by generous parishioners will not be spent immediately. Instead, the funds will be invested and used to support the parishes and schools for eternity."
He pointed out that a feasibility study consists of several questions concerning the diocese, all information from which to build a solid and successful campaign. Among other things, the questions help affirm and prioritize the goals and objectives. It is also useful in identifying possible leadership for a campaign. And finally, it suggests how much money an organization can feasibly raise.
In the diocese's case, that amount is $20 million over a five-year period - money that will be used in four different areas: $10.5 million for the Catholic Schools Endowment Fund, $3 million for the Adult Formation: Religious Education and Youth Ministry Endowment Fund, $2 million for the Multicultural Ministries Endowment Fund and $4.5 million for the Catholic Charities Endowment Fund.
Catholic Schools Endowment Fund
Did you know the diocese currently has 7,782 students enrolled and 613 teachers employed in its Catholic elementary and high schools? The average annual base salary for teachers is $17,500. That's approximately $10,000 below the average starting teacher salaries at public schools in Iowa. The diocese realizes it can't completely remove the difference, but wishes to supplement existing school endowments to help the schools as much as possible.
Adult Formation: Religious Education and Youth Ministry Endowment Fund
Did you know that religious education programs in the diocese touch the lives of 12,000 students and their families every year? That's the reason for establishing an endowment fund - to assist parishes in these programs and offer training and educational opportunities for pastoral ministers, directors of religious education, youth ministers, catechists and all adults who seek to enhance their faith.
Multicultural Ministries Endowment Fund
Did you know that census figures estimate that there are more than 22,000 Hispanics and Asians within this 24 county area of the state? The Catholic Church recognizes the need to create programs that welcome and involve the immigrant population. That's why this endowment fund will be created.
Catholic Charities Endowment Fund
Did you know that Catholic Charities reached approximately 7,000 families through professional counseling last year? And that since 1943, the organization has facilitated 1,600 adoptions throughout this 24-county area of Iowa? As Catholic Charities continues to grow, the diocese plans to help it by creating this endowment fund designed specifically for them.
So far, $8 million has been pledged by generous parish families throughout the diocese. In addition, more than $7.1 million in estate gifts have been discovered during the campaign process. "Although we cannot count the $7.1 million in estate gifts toward our $20 million goal, these gifts will benefit the parishes and their various ministries in the years to come," said Steier.
The campaign is now moving into the "Parish Phase." Campaign leadership and countless volunteers will begin calling on the Catholic community one-by-one to set up personal visits. These visits give people an opportunity to hear more about the campaign, ask questions and consider a gift to the effort.
The parishes will conduct their campaigns in two blocs. The first bloc will include the parishes in the Northeast, Southeast and South Central deaneries and their efforts will be conducted January through April. The second bloc of parishes, which includes the Northwest, Southwest and Central deaneries, will conduct their campaigns March through June.