You are a Witness to Hope
Pope Francis has called us to be bold, to be missionaries and to be witnesses to Christ and His saving message. He has called each of us to “constantly be ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, or on a journey.” That is what it means to be a witness and to live our mission. This is our call to give of ourselves, to offer our lives as a willing sacrifice in order to receive the very life of Christ, and to fulfill His mission by His Grace and strength to work in us.
Our financial generosity is one expression of how we can witness to the hope of His message and build His kingdom here on earth. It is not something that we should do grudgingly or as a token response. Witness to Hope is an invitation to be an active missionary and evangelist for Christ Jesus. Together in union with tens of thousands of your sisters and brothers, you are called to be a Witness to Hope throughout the Diocese of Lansing.
The People of God: A Community of Gifted Believers
The Catholic Diocese of Lansing is made up of nearly 200,000 people who have many gifts and talents and experiences to share. What is possible if we unwrapped all those gifts? What could we achieve together that no individual person or parish could accomplish alone? All in praise and glory of Him!
The Catholic Diocese of Lansing is moving forward on a historic journey to raise $65 million in its first-ever comprehensive diocesan-wide campaign titled Witness to Hope. Based on the vision of Bishop Boyea’s pastoral letter Go Announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this campaign will advance the ability of our parishes, as well as our diocese, to fulfill the shared mission given to us by Jesus for years to come.
Strengthening Our Parishes: $22.8 Million
(Hebrews 10:24) “We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.”
Parishes are where we meet the Lord in sacrament and community. It is at our parishes that we can best live our faith, call others to Christ, and help to build up the kingdom of God. For this reason, 35% of all funds raised up to the parish goal, 65% up to 1.2x the parish goal, and and 100% of every dollar over 1.2x the parish goal raised by the parish will fund the parish’s own mission and capital priorities. These funds will help parishes build new facilities for ministry, maintain current facilities, pay off debt, build parish endowments, or support other local needs. Parishes with significant projects can opt for a larger goal to meet those needs. The results of Witness to Hope will be stronger parishes, better able to advance the sacred mission of the Church.
Forming Our Youth and Families: $15.2 Million
(Jeremiah 29:11) “For I know well the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future hope.”
The future of our faith revolves around the evangelization of our children and young families. To support this effort these funds will be used in the following manner:
Catholic School Financial Aid Endowment: $12.5 Million
Making a Catholic education available to those families who cannot afford one is a priority of the Diocese of Lansing. These endowed funds will be used to provide need-based financial aid to students attending Catholic schools from grades K-12. This endowment will augment the funds from the current school assessment and provide substantially more resources to assist families who desire the blessing of a Catholic education. Funds will be provided on a need basis and will be capped at $1,000 per child until the growth of the endowment allows for the cap to be raised.
Religious Education and Parent Formation: $2.7 Million
Most children are formed in the foundation of their faith in the family and at the parish level. These funds will be endowed and used to provide each parish in the diocese with more resources to provide religious education through online programs such as “Formed.”* In addition, these funds also will allow parishes to provide the parents with a parallel online program that will more fully engage them in the religious formation of their children and inspire their deeper commitment to live their own faith within their families and parish community. The Evangelization Endowment will complement this effort by providing parish leaders with training to engage and actively involve parents in the religious education of their children and the life of their parish.
Evangelizing and Living Our Faith: $13.5 Million
(Matthew 28:19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Evangelization is considered the Church’s essential mission. We must find creative new approaches to present the timeless truths of our faith and inspire people to live in and for Jesus Christ as a part of a vibrant faith community. The Holy Father also has called us to provide support for those who live on the margins of our world. Living the Gospel message to care for those in need is an important evangelization effort that must be continued. These funds will be provided in addition to existing support from the DSA.
Catholic Charities Endowment: $6.5 Million
The annual distribution from this endowment fund will be used to support ongoing and new direct service programs at the five Catholic Charities agencies. Each agency would receive funding every year, but the total amount provided to each agency would be determined based on proposals submitted to the Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lansing, and would be awarded based on funding need and service priority.
Catholic Charities Capital Needs: $3.5 Million
The five Catholic Charities agencies serve the 10 counties of the diocese. Each of the Catholic Charities agencies and two important parish-based social ministry programs, with broad outreach, will benefit from capital support to improve their facilities so they can continue providing their vital services. These funds will be distributed as follows:
- Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1.175 Million
- St. Vincent Catholic Charities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.175 Million
- Livingston County Catholic Charities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$500,000
- Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $250,000
- Catholic Charities of Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties . . . . . . . . . .$200,000
- Cristo Rey Community Center (Lansing) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$100,000
- St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center and Faith-in-Flint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$100,000
New Evangelization Initiatives: $3 Million
Supporting evangelization at the parish level, especially in the areas of leadership, youth and young adult ministry, and Hispanic ministry are essential to the future of the Church. These funds will support these ministries in the following ways:
- Parish leadership training to increase the effectiveness of paid parish staff
- Subsidies for lay and deacon training, especially Spanish-language training
- Increased tuition subsidies for training for youth, young adult and Hispanic leaders
- Evangelization grants to assist parishes in implementing cutting edge programs
- Technology grants to allow parishes and the diocese to spread the Gospel of Jesus
- Stipends for four evangelization coordinators from parishes who will serve as regional resource and support agents for ongoing evangelization efforts
Distance Learning and Ministry Training Centers: $500,000
Taking advantage of the latest communications technology, Witness to Hope will fund the creation of Distance Learning and Ministry Training Centers throughout the diocese. These will bring broad access to excellent programming for evangelization programs, leadership training and formation, and the support of other ministry activities for parishioners, staff, and volunteers at parishes and schools throughout the diocese.
Caring for Our Priests: $7.5 Million
(2 Timothy 4:7) “I have competed well, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Priest Pension Fund: $4.5 Million
After a life of service to the Church, it is right to honor the sacrifice of our priests and show our appreciation for their service by helping them retire and live their lives with dignity and required health care. As our priests are now living longer, these funds will bring the funding to an appropriate level for the present and future number of elderly priests in the Diocese of Lansing.
Seminarian Education and Formation Endowment: $3 Million
St. John Vianney Endowment for Collegiate Seminarians: $1 Million
The income of this endowment would be used to provide financial aid for collegiate level (undergraduate) seminarians on a need basis, which will be determined through the process currently used by the Board of Directors of the Bishop Joseph Albers Trust.
St. John Paul II Major Seminary Education and Formation Endowment: $2 Million
The income from this endowment fund also will be used for tuition, fees, and formation programs for seminarians of the Diocese of Lansing attending major seminary (pre-theology and graduate level), as assigned by the bishop of Lansing.
Supporting Our Shared Ministry: $6 Million
(2 Corinthians 9:7) “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
The 2017 Diocesan Service Appeal: $5 Million
Witness to Hope will sustain the operating costs for the essential ministries and programs funded by the DSA for the fiscal year 2017-2018. There will be no direct solicitation for DSA in 2017. The DSA will resume in 2018.
Support for the Cathedral of St. Mary: $1 Million
These funds will be used to update the heating system, install air conditioning and improve the sound system in the Cathedral.