BRIDGEPORT—The Diocese of Bridgeport has announced the launch of the $75 million “We Stand With Christ” campaign to continue the work of renewal and strengthen the Church for future generations.
The announcement comes after the successful silent phase of the campaign which has raised almost $50 million from Leadership Gifts and ten parishes that have participated in the pilot program, making it already the largest and most successful campaign in the 64-year history of the diocese.
The “We Stand With Christ” capital campaign is being led by Bishop Caggiano and a 26-member Campaign Executive committee with the support of priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders. Brian Young of New Canaan and Fr. Reggie Norman , pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton, are serving as co-chairs.
With the public launch of the campaign, parishioners throughout the diocese are now being asked to make a pledge that will benefit the long-term needs of the parishes and essential diocesan ministries.
“I am asking people of faith the to join with me in this generational challenge of taking a great leap forward in the evangelical and spiritual renewal of the diocese,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in the “We Stand With Christ” video which is now available throughout the diocese.
“We have accomplished much in the past five years, but there is much more to do. These are challenging times in the Church and our larger society. Now is the time to accompany each other and all those in need in our spiritual journey and to plan for the future.”
The Bishop said he is deeply grateful for the generous and enthusiastic response to the silent campaign and looking forward to the public phase, which will begin in January when the parishes that did not participate in the pilot program will formally launch their fund raising efforts.
“This is a large and historic challenge that will ask sacrificial giving, but it is a singular moment in moment and opportunity to roll up our sleeves and rebuild the Church one person at a time,” said the Bishop.
The aggregate goal for the remaining 69 parishes is an additional $58 million, which will ensure the “We Stand With Christ” reaches goal and enable the bishop to address special projects such as the recent personalized learning initiatives inaugurated in its schools.
Parishioners are being asked to make a pledge between January and June of 2019 with up to five-year redemption and payment schedules.
This year’s Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) will be folded into the capital campaign for the participating parishes. Parishioners who participated in the pilot phase and have already given to the capital campaign will resume their contributions to the ACA.
The ACA sustains the ministries of the diocese on a yearly basis while the capital campaign seeks to transform the ministries in the future by giving parishes and diocesan programs the ability to innovate and invest in a new generation of faith formation, charitable and education initiatives.
The campaign initiative stems from the 4th Diocesan Synod and the subsequent pastoral planning process undertaken by the Diocese and its 82 parishes and one shrine.
In 2017, a period of discernment and consultation began among the pastors and laity which confirmed the urgent need to address critical education, charitable and pastoral and parish priorities.
With its objective of strengthening local parishes to encourage a vibrant Catholic life, the campaign will designate 50% of the funds raised, an estimated $37.5 million, for parish needs.
The remaining 50% will be invested in three major foundations: Foundations in Education
( $12.5 million), Foundations in Faith ($15 million), and Foundations in Charity ($10 million). Each of the Foundations has its own Board of Directors.
“We Stand With Christ” has been set up as a separate 501 C3 not for profit corporation, which will be overseen by a Board of Directors charged with ensuring the donations are used for the intended purpose of the donor.
The endowments established through the campaign will continue to grow through reinvestment and the addition of new gifts. The interest income generated by the endowment will provide a steady source of revenue for these Foundations. An Annual report will be pushed for the parishes and benefactors detailing the use of the funds raised.
Statistics show 435,000 registered Catholics who are part of 108,000 families, representing about 45% of the total population of Fairfield County. The diocese also numbers, 343 priests and deacons, and is the largest private educator in Fairfield County with 9000 student in 26 schools. More than 35,000 young people participate in its faith formation programs.
The campaign is being coordinated by CCS, a New York City based fundraising consultancy with decades of experience in faith-based campaigns.
For more information on the We Stand With Christ” campaign for the diocese, call (203) 648-9050. Visit the web at www.WeStandWithChrist.org
Give online at https://www.givecentral.org/wswc/