To all the good people of Our Lady of Sorrows - Saint Anthony Parish,
As you may have heard, a major endowment campaign is currently underway at OLS-SA and throughout the Diocese of Trenton. The campaign focuses on 5 special endowment funds:
Catechists and Catechetical Leaders: Currently, only 30% of catechists have participated in the Diocesan catechetical certificate program. Funds from the campaign will provide full certification for all of our catechists, and expand educational advancement for parish catechetical leaders so that all serving in this role will have or be pursuing a master's degree in theology or religious education.
Parish Adult Faith Formation: Additional funds will be directed toward the organized training of adult formation teams, strengthening existing programs, or creating new ones at each parish.
New Evangelization: The Diocese intends to build a comprehensive network that incorporates the best of parish evangelization ministries in order to empower every parish community across the Diocese to deepen the spiritual lives of its people, reach out to those who have left the Church, and invite and prepare all those who are coming to the faith for the first time.
Diocesan Parish Assistance Fund: Over the past ten years, the Diocese has provided financial support to 40% of all parishes that have been unable to fund their parish and school employee healthcare, pensions, retirement, and other costs. This endowment will ensure that these and other vital resources will continue to be available for any parishes in need of immediate assistance in order to effectively serve their parish communities for years to come.
Retired Priests: One of the greatest needs of the Diocese is the care for retired priests, especially the infirm and those requiring acute care, which costs the Diocese over $50,000 per priest. In the next 10 years alone, 44% of our current priests will be eligible for retirement. This will require an additional $800,000 each year to provide care for those who have dedicated their lives to their parish communities. Amid increasing healthcare costs, we must be prepared to meet growing demands by increasing the current endowment for our retired clergy. This will provide a renewed opportunity to give back to our priests who have given so much to us.
Seminarians: The extraordinary news is that our current class of seminarians has grown to more than 30 men! Bishop O'Connell has set the goal of bringing that number to 50 seminarians in formation over the coming years. This growth will present a welcome challenge, as the cost to educate one seminarian is approximately $40,000 per year for five years of post-college education. Recognizing the seminaries' indelible impact on our Church, the Diocese will establish a priestly formation endowment to address these growing costs.
Deacons: With more than 300 deacons currently in service, the Diocese of Trenton has been blessed with one of the largest diaconate programs in the country. As the need for permanent deacons continues, so too must the Diocese's investment in preparing men who can support our priests and minister to their congregations with engaging homilies, sacramental preparation and spiritual direction.
Foundation for Student Achievement (FSA): Providing additional sponsorships for "seats" at a school reflecting the total cost of educating the student, which has risen to nearly $7,000 each year.
Mission Schools: Supporting our "Mission Schools," which serve underpriviledged children from ethnically diverse communities with limited access to a quality Catholic education.
Catholic Alumni Partnership (CAP): Providing administrative and operational support to continue building the CAP program, which has already raised more than $100,000 for tuition assistance, technology upgrades, and local campus needs for Catholic Elementary Schools since its launch in 2013.
Grants: Awarding grants to parishes and Catholic Social Service agencies to respond to the increasing needs of those struggling in their communities.
Diocesan Parish Counseling: Providing professional assistance to parishes with a critical need for counseling services among their parishioners suffering from addiction, loss of a loved one, divorce, and other mental health issues.
Community Services: Enhancing the network of partnering social service agencies, including St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities, in all four counties of the Diocese.
Our parish goal is to raise a minimum of $1.49 million. It is a great goal because our mission is great. The parish will receive 40% of the collected amount (or a minimum of $450,000) up to our goal that will go towards parish needs. Additionally, we will receive 70% of any funds collected beyond our parish target.
Our share of the funds will be used to:
|Replace the windows of our school||$180,000|
|Install a new drainage system at the St. Anthony campus||$180,000|
|Enhance the audio/visual system at Our Lady of Sorrows||$ 20,000|
|Build our Tuition Assistance Fund||$ 70,000|
* Estimated costs
As we move forward with this campaign, it is my hope that our entire community will join together and participate in this blessed effort for our diocese and our parish. I encourage all of you to pray for our success and to participate in this graced endeavor. As has been proven so many times here at our wonderful Spirit-filled community of OLS-SA, when you give it away, your get it back one hundred fold. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Grace, peace, and blessings to you!
Monsignor Thomas Gervasio