Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

Cranberry parishes boost drive

By Eric Freehling / Butler Eagle
Mon. Jan. 26, 2015

CRANBERRY TWP — Two parishes in Cranberry Township raised more than 10 percent of the $230 million pledged in the Pittsburgh Diocese’s “Our Campaign for The Church Alive!” fundraising effort.

St. Killian Parish raised $22.3 million and St. Ferdinand Parish raised $3.8 million, according to figures released by the diocese.

Bishop David A. Zubik announced the results of the two-year campaign Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.

More than $230 million has been pledged to the campaign with $62.6 million already received.

Of these funds, $4 million is for newly opened Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township for the construction of a chapel and to help pay the school’s construction loans.

Our Campaign for The Church Alive! also distributed $13 million to parishes in the diocese’s six counties in southwestern Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington. They serve a Catholic population of 633,117.

“When I was installed as Bishop of Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, 2007, I asked one question of everyone starting with myself: ‘How excited are we about our faith?’” said Zubik at a Sunday news conference.

“I have been heartened by what I have seen and heard. Our people are excited and have demonstrated that with their sacrifices.”

For every dollar raised in a standard parish campaign, 40 cents returns to the parish to fund its priorities with 60 cents going to support diocesan-wide programs.

Parishes that exceeded their targets will receive 60 cents of every dollar raised over the target with 40 percent invested across the diocese.

St. Killian in Cranberry Township will get 100 percent of the money exceeding its target of $1.9 million.

The money, $20.4 million, will be used to build a new church and to pay construction costs of the St. Killian parish school.

Of the 200 parishes, 133 parishes met or exceeded their campaign targets.

St. Peter Parish in Slippery Rock doubled its target goal of $415,000 by raising nearly $830,000 from its 700 families, said its pastor the Rev. Kevin Poecking.

“It’s from all the people that live in the parish,” said Poecking. “There’s a lot of excitement about what the Catholic Church is doing from Pope Francis to Bishop Zubik. They want to be part of that.”

Poecking said in St. Paul Parish, the parish’s portion will be used for new technology, restructuring buildings and grounds and to foster missions and ministries.

The diocesan-wide initiative solicited support over the past two years for both parish and diocesan initiatives to build a strong spiritual and financial foundation for the future of the Catholic faith in Western Pennsylvania.

According to the diocese, by the time all donations are received in 2019, an estimated $96 million will have been invested in the parishes which will provide financial and pastoral support for parish and diocesan programs far into the future.

According to Zubik, the campaign set out to raise a minimum of $125 million. But by this month, donors had pledged gifts totaling just over $230 million.

Zubik launched the campaign on Dec. 16, 2012, and thousands of lay leaders conducted the campaign.

The board has already awarded $9 million for diocesan-wide projects such as improving outreach to families of students with special needs and encouraging vocations to the priesthood, according to the diocese.

No campaign funds may be used for regular operating costs of the parish or the diocese.

“There’s a lot of excitement about what the Catholic Church is doing from Pope Francis to Bishop Zubik. They want to be part of that.”