To Teach Who Christ Is campaign surpasses $350 million goal

By Michelle Martin
Sunday, November 13, 2016

To Teach Who Christ Is campaign surpasses $350 million goal

Archbishop Cupich delivers the homily at an Oct. 17 prayer service at Holy Family Church to announce the sucess of the To Teach Who Christ Is Campaign. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
The Archdiocese of Chicago held a series of prayer services the week of Oct. 17 in thanksgiving for a successful To Teach Who Christ Is campaign. (Karen Callway/Catholic New World)
Parishioners from Old St. Mary's Church take part in the service. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

The To Teach Who Christ Is capital campaign has surpassed its $350 million goal, the largest capital campaign ever conducted by a Catholic diocese. Archbishop Cupich made the announcement at an Oct. 17 event meant to celebrate the accomplishment.

“We’re here to celebrate not just reaching a goal – which we have and which we’ve surpassed – but to celebrate God’s fidelity to us,” Archbishop Cupich told about 50 parish campaign leaders who gathered for a prayer service at Holy Family Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road, followed by a reception at St. Ignatius College Prep. The event was the first of four celebrations planned in different areas of the archdiocese. “I’m here to thank you for your witness of faith.”

The campaign had raised over $368 million as of Oct. 21.

The archbishop praised Cardinal George for demonstrating faith like Abraham’s in starting the campaign in 2013, in what the cardinal knew would be his last years as archbishop.

“We have learned in this whole process to trust each other, to step out in faith like Cardinal George and say, ‘Yes, we can do this,’” Archbishop Cupich said. “We’re investing in people and in a future we don’t even know going forward.”

The trust that the campaign has fostered will serve the archdiocese well throughout the Renew My Church process, which aims to realign the material and spiritual resources of the archdiocese to better meet its needs, he said.

“We need to be willing to invest in each other and say our best days are not behind us or ahead of us,” the archbishop said. “God is faithful to us and will show us the way.”

The campaign originally had a goal of $100 million in major gifts and $250 million from parishes. As of mid-October, the major gifts, mostly solicited personally by Cardinal George and Archbishop Cupich, totaled about $140 million, said James Perry, the major gift chair.

Each parish keeps 60 percent of the money it raises toward its individual goal set by the archdiocese, and 100 percent of what it raises in excess of its goal. An endowed scholarship fund for Catholic schools and some direct scholarships will receive $150 million, and the remainder of the proceeds will support religious education, help improve academic excellence in Catholic schools and help economically disadvantaged parishes with critical facility needs.

The scholarship program has been ramping up since 2014. It has distributed 9,100 monetary awards, with $4.3 million in scholarships going to 2,845 students in 93 schools this year. Most scholarships are capped at 50 percent of tuition.

Among the parishes represented at the Oct. 17 event was Old St. Mary’s, 1500 S. Michigan Ave.

The parish did its campaign about a year ago, said George Fassnacht and George Mattes, who were parish leaders. The parish raised $1.4 million, in excess of both the goal set for it by the archdiocese, about $1.1 million, and the goal it set for itself, about $1.25 million. The parish will receive its share of the money as the pledges are paid.

It plans to use the money to build a multipurpose parish center to be used for church and school activities, Fassnacht said.

“I think it helped that when we did the campaign, we already had a rendering of what we wanted to build,” Fassnacht said. “We had a very concrete objective.”

The campaign also had strong support from the pastor, Paulist Father Paul Huesing, Mattes said, and from many young families whose children attend the parish school.

“I think if you look at the demographics, our parish is actually getting younger,” Fassnacht said. “And a lot of those young families were very active in the campaign.”

“Our parishioners also bought into the fact that the campaign was not just for our parish,” Mattes said. “It was going to benefit the whole archdiocese.”

Representatives of St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church also attended. The parish is part of the sixth and final wave of the capital campaign and had not yet held its formal commitment weekend. However, it already had pledges in excess of its $195,000 goal.

That the campaign would benefit children was a deciding factor for many parishioners, said Darlene Chan-Lowe.

Florence Yu said she has been reaching out to everyone in the parish, encouraging them to give what they can afford.

“We want to build a bridge to the community,” she said. “We want everyone to get involved. If they can give $50 a year, that’s something.”

The pastor, Father Francis Li, said his parish intends to use proceeds from the campaign to evangelize the community.

“We used to have missionaries who went to China to convert people, to save souls,” he said. “Now those souls are here. We need to teach who Christ is. We have a lot of missionary work to do.”

For more information about the campaign, visit


  • cardinal cupich
  • renew my church
  • cardinal george
  • st. therese chinese catholic school
  • to teach who christ is
  • old st.marys

Related Articles