Ignite the Faith goes beyond dollars
It is with immense gratitude that I write this column. This month we complete the formal activities of the Ignite the Faith capital campaign that occurred in each of our 140 parishes and missions over the last two years, and the response has been overwhelming.
As a result of the prayers, leadership and generosity of thousands of people in this archdiocese, we exceeded our expectations and raised more than $52 million. As you know, these funds will make a significant impact on our Catholic schools, support our parishes in important ways, take care of our retired priests and encourage new vocations. Millions of dollars already have been invested to launch these initiatives. It will be exciting to witness the profound effects of this extraordinary effort in the months and years to come.
I wish to sincerely thank our pastors, lay leaders and the thousands of parish volunteers throughout the archdiocese. It was their dedication that ensured we would reach our financial goal. But I especially thank them for the countless conversations and acts that served to achieve our most important goal, and that is to ignite the faith. They carried the message of hope for our church’s future to their fellow parishioners, the outcome of which cannot be measured in dollar figures. Yet I am certain we will see powerful results.
Recently, our office hosted a prayer service and reception to thank those involved in the important work of stewardship and development in our parishes, schools and ministries. Msgr. Joseph Hanefeldt, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Omaha, was our presider. During his homily, he reflected on a quote a friend of his shared: "At the heart of the gift is the love of the giver."
It just so happened that on the previous day, Archbishop George J. Lucas announced the remarkable results of the campaign. I couldn’t help thinking that Msgr. Hanefeldt’s message captured the core of the campaign’s accomplishments. Indeed, this campaign did so much more than raise very important dollars. It is clear to me that the countless and varied gifts offered during this effort were given with love, love for our parish communities, our schools, our priests, our church.
It has been a personal gift to be closely involved in the campaign process, to be with our pastors, lay leaders and volunteers across the archdiocese during its many phases and activities. At every turn, I was inspired by the faith, the dedication and courage, the love and sacrifice of so many.
I have struggled these last few days to describe my emotions. I finally came to understand that along with feeling immensely grateful, humbled and happy, I also am very proud. I am proud of the people of this archdiocese. I am proud that we came together as a faith community from every corner of northeast Nebraska, and I am proud of what we accomplished together. I am proud that we, the church of 2014, set in motion a remarkable course that will ignite the faith for generations to come, and that we did it with love.
Shannan Brommer is director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development. Contact her at email@example.com.