By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
The Diocese of Davenport is excited and grateful for the response so far for the “Upon This Rock” capital campaign that recently launched in Phase I parishes, said Michael Hoffman, Director of Development and Stewardship. The $28 million campaign is raising funds for the retirement and health care costs of priests, for seminarians’ education costs and for parishes, which will determine the projects they want to fund.
Father Joseph Phung, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison, said work at his parish began well before the campaign kickoff. Hoffman and the Steier Group helped by providing practical ideas and feedback. Father Phung mobilized a group of volunteers in advance to reach out to parishioners. They published bulletin blurbs and shared a Keokuk Deanery idea to make posters with photos of priests who have served at Holy Family (St. Mary, St. Joseph and Sacred Heart churches).
Parishioners viewed a capital campaign video after the homily during Mass the weekend of April 23-24. Father Phung appreciated the quality of the video and heard a lot of good feedback from parishioners after the showing. They liked the video’s approach to showing city and rural parishes, large and small parishes, lay and clergy, young and old, “people of all walks of life.”
Holy Family’s campaign goal is around $914,000. “We have $30,000 so far. I feel that is a good start.” Pledges and donations continue to be dropped off at the parish or sent to the diocese. “The gifts and comments have been positive.”
A portion of funds raised returns to the parish for projects of its choosing. Father Phung said a number of Holy Family buildings require maintenance. “Next year we need a new roof at Ss. Mary & Joseph, which will cost about $350,000.” Any money raised via the campaign will “help a lot.” Father Phung emphasized that the capital campaign did not happen suddenly. “This has been talked about for a long time. We are showcasing the good work of our priests and planning for the future.”
Father Rudolph Juarez, pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Davenport, said the campaign has been “received positively.” Donations and pledges “have been good so far. I hope the trend continues.” During the weekend of April 23-24, he kicked off the campaign by showing the video and weaving the campaign into his homily.
The goal for St. Anthony Parish is $988,000. He noted that the campaign takes place over a three-year period. “How can you eat a 2,000-pound elephant? One bite at a time,” he said. The same goes for the campaign. Parishioners can spread out payments over time. Money that returns to St. Anthony has been earmarked for work on the original church building on the parish campus. “This is the oldest parish in the Diocese of Davenport. This building (the original church) also served as city hall, a courtroom, a church, a residence and a school.” He said the building could use some work and upgrades.
“I hope the people open their hearts and their generosity will flow. This is a great campaign with a great purpose. I hope the people (of the diocese) get behind it.”
Phase I parishes:
Centerville, St. Mary Parish
Colfax, Immaculate Conception Parish
Davenport, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Davenport, St. Paul the Apostle Parish
Davenport, St. Anthony Parish
DeWitt, St. Joseph Parish
Farmington, St. Boniface Parish
Fort Madison, Holy Family Parish
Houghton, St. John Parish
Iowa City, St. Patrick Parish
Melrose, St. Patrick Parish
Ottumwa, St. Mary of the Visitation Parish
Solon, St. Mary Parish
St. Paul, St. James Parish
West Point, St. Mary Parish
Wilton, St. Mary Parish