To Teach Who Christ Is campaign begins third wave in area parishes

By Catholic New World
Sunday, December 14, 2014

Archbishop Cupich challenged more than 100 pastors and campaign volunteers to become leaders of To Teach Who Christ Is at a Dec. 1 meeting to launch Wave IIIa of the capital campaign.

The archbishop took over leadership of the campaign to raise $350 million for parishes, Catholic education and faith formation from Cardinal George. Now, he’s asking not only for parish leaders, but for them to invite other parishioners to join him in this venture for the future of the church in Chicago.

Attendees responded with enthusiasm, and a sense of responsibility for carrying out this work alongside the new archbishop.

“I am convinced that our already excited team has gotten a shot in the arm,” said Father Britto Berchmans, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Park Ridge, where the meeting was held.

Those gathered also had the opportunity to hear about the importance of the campaign elements it is supporting from Dominican Sister M. Paul McCaughey, superintendent of Catholic schools; Jim Perry, campaign chairperson; and campaign staff members.

Sister M. Paul detailed how the campaign will benefit Catholic education. Regarding the $150 million being raised for scholarships through the Catholic Education Scholarship Trust, she explained that these funds will complement, not compete, with those from Big Shoulders Fund.

And, regardless of the source, more funding is needed. “I just care that we support our children’s education,” she said.

Hosting the event was both “an honor and an impetus,” according to Berchmans. “We felt specially privileged to host the archbishop in our parish. We had a unique opportunity to meet him and talk with him. Several of my committee members and other parishioners were able to get to know him. His presence also gave us an impetus to commit ourselves to this campaign.”

St. Paul of the Cross is one of four parishes in Wave IIIa running an enhanced campaign, with a goal greater than what was set by the archdiocese. The parish was ready to launch a capital campaign when To Teach Who Christ Is was announced, and is now combining the two efforts under Fulfilling Our Centennial Promise: To Teach Who Christ Is. A major gift effort has resulted in pledges and gifts of more than $1 million toward the parish’s $3 million goal.

“Once we got a few large gifts, I became enthused and developed courage to ask others,” he said, of the early momentum the parish campaign is experiencing. “Archbishop Cupich told us to talk to people like adults, and they will respond.”

Berchmans has also entrusted St. Paul of the Cross’ efforts to the intercession of St. Joseph. “So far, it seems to be working,” he said.

Over the summer, a team of CCS Fundraising consultants conducted a “rapid review process” of the campaign, which involved interviewing more than 70 pastors, lay leaders and archdiocesan officials, as well as evaluating campaign policies, materials and systems and parish and lead gift efforts. To accommodate this process, the campaign’s third wave was divided into two parts. The second half of the third wave, Wave IIIb will launch at the beginning of 2015 and currently consists of 23 parishes — with the potential for as many as 15 additional parishes to join before then. The overall timetable has been extended to December 2016 to accommodate an added wave.

Eighteen parishes are participating in Wave IIIa, the first since the campaign’s transition in fundraising firms to CCS. They include three running “standard” campaigns with the archdiocesan-set goal; four “enhanced” campaigns, with parishes seeking to raise additional funds to take advantage of receiving 100 percent of funds raised over goal; and six parishes that participated in an earlier wave of the campaign and are re-engaging to make their goals. Six parishes have local needs greater than 300 percent of their offertory collection and have chosen to run independent campaigns.

Wave IIIa has an overall goal of $20.4 million. To date, the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign has raised $133.3 million through major gifts and parish efforts. Cardinal George and a group of volunteers have raised $91.4 million through the major gift effort, while parishes have raised an additional $41.9 million for the campaign.


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