Nearly four years after initial grants were awarded to help build the Church of Pittsburgh, the impact of a historic fundraising campaign is being felt across the diocese.
From 2014-17, charitable grants totaling $44.8 million have been approved by the volunteer board of directors of Our Campaign for The Church Alive, Inc. The board is responsible for ensuring trust, accountability and transparency in granting funds that help fulfill the diocesan case statement.
Donors’ sacrificial gifts are helping to support evangelization, Catholic education, students with special needs, college campus ministry, training for priests and lay leaders, seminarian formation, retired and senior priests, parishes in need, Catholic communications, the poor and marginalized, and the mission in Chimbote, Peru.
Other campaign funds are returned to parishes to meet important needs including evangelization, faith formation and repair and maintenance of facilities.
The diocesan grants are delivering a measurable impact in several key areas:
Catholic education, Catechesis and Formation
- The Bishop’s Education Fund permanent endowment has grown by 60 percent, enabling hundreds of additional students in need of financial assistance to benefit from a Catholic education.
- All 12 Catholic high schools in the diocese have upgraded their technology infrastructure, including improvements to science labs, new SMART boards, wireless networks and cybersecurity and building security systems.
- Campus ministers are bringing the Gospel message to more students at Slippery Rock University, Robert Morris University, Washington & Jefferson College, Waynesburg University and California University of Pennsylvania. New Bible study groups are being formed and discipleship training is underway.
- Priestly vocation discernment programs, including retreats, are being tailored to three audiences—high schoolers, college students and post-college men. The redesigned PghPriest.com web site and “vocation stations” in parishes are being well received.
- Priests have completed the latest Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program designed to help them lead the new groupings of parishes beginning in October. Parish lay leaders and diocesan staff have received similar training through the Tending the Talents program.
“During the summer months Catholic high schools in the diocese were able to address digital security and infrastructure upgrades, physical plant technology–based security needs and general technology objectives,” said Anna Torrance, diocesan secretary for external affairs. “Generous gifts to the campaign are having a tremendous impact and helping to position our Catholic high schools at the forefront in technology services and education.”
Evangelization and Stewardship
- Dozens of teens are experiencing the love of Jesus at St. Maria Goretti and St. Juan Diego parishes through the work of street missionaries. Two young men plan to formally enter the church in April.
- More Catholics are seeking to return to full sacramental participation in the church, encouraged to seek annulments due to the elimination of fees. New petitions nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016.
- Catholic communications grants have funded new web sites, TV studio upgrades, mobile cameras, social media outreach and digital advertising that helps to spread the gospel message.
Our People Caring
- Distributions from the Catholic Charities Mother Teresa Endowment Fund have provided emergency financial assistance to the working poor. A grant to the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center supports dental care. The New Roselia Program Endowment Fund helps expectant and new mothers who are often young, single, homeless and in distress.
- As part of the diocese’s 50th anniversary Mission Milestone Investment in Chimbote, Peru, a new wellness clinic is being built.
“Bishop Zubik frequently says he is amazed but never surprised by the generosity of our people,” said Pat Joyce, director of the diocesan Office for Stewardship. “Four thousand miles to the south we have helped to construct for the poor of Chimbote a modern wellness clinic now serving more than 1,000 patients every day. What a magnificent example of our Gospel call to love our sisters and brothers in need!”
The campaign is founded on principles of Christian stewardship, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops describes as “generously sharing our time, talent and treasure. We receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.”
For the complete summary report of the grants, click here.