Closing the Catholic Giving Gap

March 3, 2014
Issue 23
American Catholics are less likely to report giving to the Church, according to a research study, mostly because of a lack of “spiritual engagement with money.” The survey from the Notre Dame Institute for Church Life finds that Catholics in the U.S. tend to separate money from matters of faith through a “pay the bills” culture that focuses on a parish’s need and scarcity instead of opportunities for spiritual growth. 
The majority of the monies committed to Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love will be used to enhance faith-based education at our Catholic schools and Faith Formation programs, sustain ministries on college campuses throughout the region, and ensure continued support for seminarians. 
Researchers also offered encouraging news; when parishioners participate in the planning and offer their vision for the faith community, they get excited about the great accomplishments that donations can achieve. This empowers them and engenders a sense of ownership, leading to more generous giving.
Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love is the result of thousands of conversations with parishioners and clergy throughout the Diocese. The pillars of the campaign were identified as priorities of the Catholic community in order to sustain and prepare the Church for the future.  
The Catholic giving gap is not associated with a lack of resources, the study concluded. In this survey, Catholics were slightly above the national average in annual income. 
The success of Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love has been humbling. Parishioners continue to make sacrificial gifts that will benefit the Church for years to come.  
Campaign Statistics
Parishioners across the diocese continue to generously support the Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love effort. To date, gifts have been received from 7,031 donors. 
*A portion of the Leadership Gifts Phase total raised is shared with parishes, therefore the overall total is less than the sum of the individual phases. 
* Retired, but pastor when campaign was conducted. 

Good News
Block One
Fr. Adrian Porras at St. Barnabas in Arden offered all families an opportunity to participate in Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love during the first Commitment Weekend. Eighty-five additional families responded to Fr. Adrian’s appeal that will support the building of a new multi-purpose building. Families pledged more than $213,000, bringing St. Barnabas total raised to $1,035,345.
Block Two
The Leadership team at St. Matthew in Charlotte continues to be grateful for the support they have received from parish families. Ambassadors report that during visits, parishioners are especially excited to discuss the efforts to strengthen Catholic school education for students of all ages. The St. Matthew Catholic School currently serves 650 young people in academic and spiritual enrichment.
Fr. Carmen Malacari and the team of Ambassadors at Holy Spirit in Denver are excited to meet with parish families to share the Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love message. Families notice the alignment of the parish’s mission “to provide spiritual nourishment, ministry, hospitality, and community outreach through liturgy, praise, faith formation and ministerial support” with the pillars of the Forward in Faith, Hope and Love effort. Parishioners look forward to building a new church for the Denver community and helping to strengthen the greater Church of western North Carolina.
Fr. Pat Cahill at St. Eugene in Asheville welcomed three new gifts to the effort, totaling $300,000.  With these pace-setting gifts, St. Eugene is well on its way to achieve the $2,100,000 challenge goal. Monies returned to the parish will help Asheville Catholic build seven additional classrooms and the parish to make enhancements to the sanctuary.
The leadership team at St. Vincent de Paul continues to grow as more families sign on to help Fr. Mark Lawlor spread the message through its Charlotte neighborhood. Even though St. Vincent de Paul recently conducted its own parish campaign to build its Ministry Center, families enthusiastically recognize Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love as a unique stewardship opportunity to extend their personal blessings beyond the direct parish community.
Fr. Michael Buttner and Fr. Stephen Hoyt at Holy Family in Clemmons welcomed eight additional volunteers to the campaign team. Families are excited to join this effort that will help address the continued growth of the parish.
Fr. David Miller at St. Dorothy in Lincolnton welcomed forty parishioners at an Ambassador Orientation and Training meeting. The parishioners in attendance expressed their support of Catholic education, priest retirement, and Catholic Charities.
Father Herbert Burke and the Campaign Executive Committee at Immaculate Conception in Forest City continue to visit parishioners to share the components of Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love.  They welcomed three gifts totaling more than $12,000 from parishioners who are excited to be part of an effort to strengthen the Catholic Church for future generations.