Together with God we did it
The Together for God’s Good Work capital campaign, which many pledged to in 2010, is a legacy for future generations with millions of dollars directly impacting young people through improvements at the Catholic Student Center and endowments for parish youth ministry, parish religious education and Catholic school tuition assistance.
The campaign included plans for funds to care for priests through the Infirm Priests’ Fund Endowment; to assist with emerging social service needs throughout Southeast Texas by enhancing a Catholic Charities Endowment; to provide for future needs for Holy Family Retreat Center; and to provide a new Catholic Pastoral Center for ministry.
Parishes also share in the benefits of the campaign with funds received benefiting a number of goals for parishes.
The campaign had a goal of $25 million. As of July 2015, $25,401,515 had been pledged with $22,640,759 received in payments. Twenty-four percent of the Catholic households in Southeast Texas (that’s 6,433 of them) made a pledge to the campaign.
Capital campaign payments or new pledges can be made online here or by mail to Together for God’s Good Work, Department #190, P.O. Box 4869, Houston, Texas, 77210-4869.
Initial Message from the Bishop
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In July of 2000, I had the privilege of being installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout our diocese, meet many members of our diocesan families and see first hand the strength of their faith. I have witnessed tremendous spiritual growth and development in both our parishes and in the diocese. This has happened because we have worked together and because we have let the Holy Spirit lead us.
As we celebrate the Pauline year, we reflect on how we can carry the message of Jesus. Once the great Apostle Paul experienced the love of the resurrected Christ first hand, nothing would stop him from sharing that experience. Like Paul, but perhaps not as dramatically, we are also called to share the love of Christ.
Although the challenges we face today are different from those of the early Church, our fundamental mission remains the same. It is imperative that we meet those challenges with the same courage and conviction as Paul. It is now our opportunity to continue the legacy of faith that has been gifted to us.
What follows is a plan to prepare our diocese to respond to the challenges we face. This plan is filled with hope and optimism and will require sacrifice from us all. We call this undertaking Together for God’s Good Work, and we believe its time has come. This campaign gives us an opportunity to share Christ’s love as exemplified by Paul who said, “It is no longer I, but Christ living in me.”
The success of this campaign will depend on your prayers and generous financial support. I have every confidence that we will achieve our goals. Together as a diocesan family, we can accomplish many great things for Christ.
May the Holy Spirit bless you, your family and your parish.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Curtis J. Guillory, S.V.D., D.D.
Bishop of Beaumont
How Your Gift Can Help
Since the establishment of our diocese, we have had a rich tradition of faith. Though different in culture, we have grown united in the Mystical Body of Christ. Now we begin a new effort to provide for the needs of this generation and future generations.
Infirm Priests’ Fund Endowment – $4,000,000
Our diocesan priests spend years in service to the faithful. Historically, an actual collection provided about $55,000 for the Infirm Priests’ Fund each year to support infirm diocesan priests. After funding the medical costs of several priests during severe illnesses, the Infirm Priests’ Fund went bankrupt. Other diocesan funds had to be moved to take care of this need. An infusion of $4,000,000 to an endowment will help stabilize the fund. Generated income should provide additional assistance for the foreseeable future.
Endowment for Parish Youth Ministry, Parish Religious Education & Catholic School Scholarships – $7,000,000
Catholic School Scholarships – $2,333,333
Statistics show that lay leadership and vocations come in greater
numbers from those who attend Catholic schools. We have 1,321 students in our Catholic grade schools and 469 students in our high school.
Increasing costs present challenges to making Catholic schools affordable for moderate and low-income families. This endowment will generate monies for additional scholarships to assist students.
Parish Youth Ministry – $2,333,333
Many of our teenagers are attending non-Catholic youth activities because of their parish’s limited resources. There is only one paid Catholic youth minister in the 18 rural parishes and missions. Many inner city parishes are facing similar situations. Funds generated from this endowment will provide grants to needy parishes and missions for youth ministers.
Parish Religious Education – $2,333,333
Presently 9,674 children are in parish religious education programs in the diocese. Only 12 Parish Catechetical Leaders (PCL) are full-time and 11 are part-time. Many of these positions are at the larger parishes with paid staff. The remaining parishes have either part-time persons or volunteers. An endowment for religious education will generate funds for grants to assist parishes and missions that are in need of a paid PCL.
Campus Ministry at Lamar University – $1,000,000
The Catholic Student Center at Lamar University has not been renovated in 30 years. The chapel and recreational spaces are not as inviting as those provided by the campus ministries of other faiths. The rest rooms are not handicapped accessible. Approximately 10,500 students attend L.U. Many are Catholic. Aggressively focusing time and resources on the faith formation of these young people is an investment for the future of our Church since studies show vocations frequently come from active campus ministry. This fund will help provide monies for Campus Ministry’s physical and program needs.
Catholic Charities Endowment – $1,000,000
Following Hurricane Rita, Southeast Texas learned that the needs of the most vulnerable were not being served in ways that would change their life situation. Catholic Charities discovered that many individuals were returning again and again to social service agencies. In response, Catholic Charities set up a project to assist clients on becoming less dependent on social services. Funds generated from this endowment would give Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas, the social service arm of the local Church, a source of revenue that would enable it to identify and then respond to new needs in the future.
New Catholic Pastoral Center – $4,250,000
Our current Pastoral Center is aging, inefficient, not handicapped accessible and does not provide adequate space for ministries or storage of records. The building has not had a major renovation in at least 30 years. Offices and staircases are difficult to maneuver. Because space is at a premium, some ministries have been relocated to portable buildings. A new simple but tasteful Pastoral Center will provide efficient and safe housing for our ministries as well as meeting space for Catholics in our diocese.
2010 Bishop’s Faith Appeal – $2,000,000
The Bishop’s Faith Appeal provides an annual source of funds for 18 diocesan ministries and Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas. These ministries touch the lives of 110,000 individuals in Southeast Texas. Funds raised through our parishes demonstrate the generous support of our people for the larger Church. This campaign allocates $2,000,000 toward the 2010 BFA. The return of the usual BFA is slated for 2011.
Holy Family Retreat Center – $1,750,000
Currently, there are two challenges in meeting the retreat needs of our people. First, there are diocesan and parish groups that would like to use the Center but are unable to afford the fees. Second, sometimes more than one event or program needs to use the Retreat Center at the same time. Several diocesan ministries have had to use other public facilities.
In order to make Holy Family Retreat Center more accessible, $500,000 will be set aside to help subsidize the cost for diocesan and parish groups that would otherwise be financially unable to use the Retreat Center. We are also in the process of evaluating what plan of action will best meet our current and future space needs. Therefore, $1,250,000 will be set aside to meet the determined expansion priorities.
Support of Our Local Parishes & Missions – $4,000,000
We most deeply experience the presence of Jesus through the sacraments, community and faith formation of our parishes and missions. Each faces its own challenges and goals. In this campaign, each will have a target that will include its portion of the 2010 BFA. Once a parish surpasses its 2010 BFA target, 20% of the net funds collected up to its campaign target will return to the parish. When a parish exceeds its campaign target, it will receive 80% of funds raised. This funding will be used in ways the parish deems appropriate.
Our History of Faith
Since the establishment of our diocese, we have had a rich tradition of faith. Our local Church has grown into a dynamic Catholic community built on the faith of many diverse people including Italian immigrants, Cajuns from Louisiana, African Americans, Czechs, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Hispanics, as well as many others. Though different in culture, we have grown united in the Mystical Body of Christ. This growth has been achieved through the leadership of our bishops, the dedication of our clergy and religious, and the generous support of our laity.
We are grateful to God for the blessings we have received through the labor of those who came before us. With limited resources but unlimited vision, they worked together to gather the faithful at Eucharist, educate the young, feed the poor and spread the Gospel of Jesus.
Because of their good works and God’s grace, we are today a diocesan family composed of nearly 80,000 Catholics worshipping in 52 parishes and missions throughout 7,500 square miles of Southeast Texas, stretching from the Big Thicket to the Gulf Coast.
Now we begin a new effort – Together for God’s Good Work. We are called to make new gifts to our community as we begin a $25,000,000 campaign that will stand as a witness of our faith and love, meeting the needs of this generation and establishing a foundation for our children and grandchildren.
Good work pays off for parishes
“As a pastor, I can assure everyone that this investment in our Catholic youth will be well and faithfully used….” that was Father Andrew Moore’s recent reaction on Facebook to hearing that St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Silsbee would be one of the grant recepients from endowments that were the result of the capital campaign, Together for God’s Good Work. Father Moore also used the social medium to let the public know he was grateful to “the faithful stewards of the Diocese of Beaumont who made such generous financial gifts to the diocesan capital campaign.”
His post brought nearly 200 likes and dozens of comments from parishioners and friends including one from Youth Minister Kathy Watson, “We are excited and grateful.”
St. Mark Parish received a grant of $30,000 which will be paid out in $10,000 yearly increments over the next three years. The funds will be used to help with salary and programming costs for the parish’s youth ministry.
Blessed Sacrament, Beaumont, and Our Lady of the Pines, Woodville, received similiar three-year grants for their Parish Youth Ministry.
Father Michael Strother, pastor, gave thanks for the grant to Our Lady of the Pines and said it would help him achieve something he set as a goal at the parish.
“One of my goals has been rejuvenating the youth program. Now, with a paid youth minister, the goal in building up youth ministry has become a reality for the parish and her young people. I firmly believe in young people. They are certainly, without doubt, the present and the future of Christ’s Church,” he said.
Josephite Father Joseph Benjamin echoed his sentiment.
“This grant will assist us in our efforts to minister to the youth of the parish and help us in our evangelization with the community youth,” he said.
Much thought went into the decisions about the grants.
“The awards committee decided to set the grants for three years to allow these parishes time to stabilize their programs financially. In general part-time and volunteer youth ministers are awesome,” said Laura Williams, chief financial officer for the diocese.
“But it is tough to hold down a full-time job somewhere else and then devote all the time needed for a youth ministry program. I know. I did it. This will give these parishes the boost needed – either to help with salaries or to get programs working fully,” Williams said.
The grants were awarded late in July along with two others that would create two new full time multi-parish youth ministers and two full-time multi-parish catechetical leaders.
“I am pleased by the support of the good people who contributed to the capital campaign and understood the need for good catechetical programs. Now we can begin to give back to them and their parishes,” said Dr. Lorraine DeLuca, director of Evangelization and Catechesis.
DeLuca added that the two religious education positions combined would be able to assist four to six parishes.
“We are now in the process of putting together the job descriptions,” she said. “I am hoping the search for the right people will not take too long. Then we will look at which parishes have the most needs and meet with those pastors.”
The two multi-parish youth ministry positions combined will also be able to serve between four to six parishes.
“Our ministry has somewhat of a template for the youth positions since we already have the multi-parish coordinators,” said Tex Phelps, director of Youth Ministry.
“The difference would be that the coordinators work on training teams of adults in each parish to do youth ministry. The new staff members would do that too, but they would also work directly with the youth,” he continued.
“I’m realy grateful to Bishop Guillory for initiating the capital campaign. And, I am very grateful to the people of our diocese who made pledges. This is tangible proof that they are committed to our youth. It is easy to say ‘I am committed to our youth,’ the real dedication is taking the action,” Phelps said.
Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, and a diocesan advisory grant committee met with pastors early this summer at a series of vicariate meetings. They discussed how the funds could be best used to serve the parishes. After this consultation, Bishop Guillory decided what to fund.
“From the beginning of the capital campaign, my hope has been for two or more parishes to share a paid employee so that we could get the most benefit from these funds. Several of our pastors suggested that having these positions created through our diocesan offices would be the most efficient and productive way to accomplish this. I am very pleased that these funds will be able to help three parishes immediately and between 7 and 15 in the coming year to 18 months,” Bishop Guillory said.
The $25 million Together for God’s Good Work capital campaign was established to provide for the future needs of the diocese with $2,333,333 earmarked for endowments for parish youth ministry needs and another $2,333,333 earmarked for parish religious education needs.
“To date, the campaign has brought in more than $23 million in actual receipts toward its goal. Parishioners are still paying on those pledges and every dollar means more help for these endowments as well as our scholarships for Catholic schools, which is another endowment helped by the campaign, and the endowment for Catholic Charities and Holy Family Retreat Center development,” said Letty Lanza, director of Stewardship and Communications.
“Many people, including me, are still paying on their pledges so I think we will can get very close to the more than 25 million which was pledged. And parishioners who weren’t here during the active part of the campaign, can still go to the diocesan website and make a one time gift,” Lanza said.
Gifts can be made to the campaign here.
Changing lives by assisting students
by Kim Adams
It has been said that a Catholic education can change the life of a student. Thanks to the generous gifts of the Catholic faithful of Southeast Texas to the Together for God’s Good Work Capital Campaign, more students who otherwise would not be able to attend Catholic school are getting that chance.
Struggles in public school with bullying and self-esteem issues drove one family to seek out St. Mary Catholic School, Orange, for its three students. Once enrolled, hours cut at the father’s job and the mother’s medical issues became a source of stress in questioning whether the kids would be able to continue at St. Mary.
“When we started Catholic school our finances were fine,” the parent, who preferred not to be identified, said. “Then with the cut hours and me eventually needing surgery, it became a hardship, and we weren’t sure we could stay. We were approached about tuition assistance, applied and were accepted. We are very grateful to get the assistance.”
This past school year, a death in the family left the oldest child feeling depressed and lost. His mom said the school rallied around him and prayed for him daily and helped him through his grief.
“I don’t feel that he would have been shown that same love and care in a public school,” the mother said. “I think without that support he might have really become depressed.”
Part of the Capital Campaign added $2.3 million to an endowment for Catholic school scholarships. The funds supplemented the already established Bishop’s Scholarship for tuition assistance at each of the five diocesan schools.
Like at St. Mary, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, Port Arthur, first-grade student Daylan Rady will be able to continue in Catholic school thanks to the Bishop’s Scholarship.
“The scholarship helps me tremendously,” Ayanna Charlot, Rady’s mom, said. “I am able to continue to keep him at St. Catherine where he is loved and where everyone on staff knows him.
Without the assistance I would not be able to continue to keep him at St. Catherine.”
Rady has been a student at St. Catherine since pre-kindergarten 3 and has been receiving the Bishop’s Scholarship for two years following the loss of his mom’s job. Haidee Todora, principal, informed Charlot about the tuition assistance to help her get through the tough time.
In the 2014-15 school year approximately $143,000 from the endowment was distributed to students through the Bishop’s Scholarship with each school receiving $28,644.
Marcia Stevens, superintendent of schools, said there is a misconception that the students in private schools are all from wealthy families when in reality in the Catholic schools approximately 90 percent of the students receive tuition assistance. Having the ability to assist those who would like to attend one of the five schools in the diocese makes the difference for many families.
Donna Darby, principal at St. Mary, said that for the 2015-2016 school year 22 students will receive tuition assistance from the Bishop’s Scholarship.
“Our enrollment has increased since I became principal, and I believe it is because of the tuition assistance,” Darby said. “I found, though, that a lot of people didn’t know that the assistance was there.”
Darby went to churches and talked to the people about St. Mary and how, with tuition assistance through the Bishop’s Scholarship, a Catholic education was possible for almost anyone who wanted to attend.
A large majority of students at St. Catherine also receive assistance. Many families looking for better opportunities for their children who didn’t think Catholic school was possible have been helped.
In other instances, parents have expressed that they chose to send their children to Catholic school after talking to other parents at church.
“Some of our new families saw our students in church and saw changes in behavior and wanted to know where they went to school,” Todora said. “Some students have come to us introverted and would be considered at-risk. Those are the students who often fall through the cracks and get lost in the system. We have seen them become very productive in the Catholic school environment.”
Todora said once those students get into the Catholic school environment, they thrive. Students who were once disrespectful become the examples of how to behave and treat others.
“Without subsidies, I believe these students would still be falling through the cracks,” Todora said. “I know we are making a difference in their lives.”
Capital Campaign payments or new pledges can be made online here or by mail to Together for God’s Good Work, Department #190, P.O. Box 4869, Houston, Texas, 77210-4869.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What led the Diocese of Beaumont to begin a campaign of this magnitude?
It is evident that there are several pressing financial challenges facing the diocese that if not taken care of today, will continue to grow. Through consultation with every priest in the diocese and diocesan ministry directors, interviews with parish lay leaders, and a direct mail survey to 2,000 families, a realization developed of the vital need for support for the Infirm Priests’ Fund, a new Catholic Pastoral Center, more Catholic School Scholarships, Youth Ministry, Religious Education, Catholic Charities, Campus Ministry, Holy Family Retreat Center and our parishes and missions.
The Bishop’s Faith Appeal is a significant part of this campaign and is a part of the case statement. Two million dollars for the 2010 BFA will be incorporated into this campaign; however BFA is scheduled to resume as before in 2011. The reasoning behind this is funding from the BFA provides the essential funding for existing ministries and the operation of the diocese. It makes sense to conduct this campaign in conjunction with the capital campaign this year as opposed to separately.
3. Does the Diocese of Beaumont anticipate conducting another capital campaign in the future?
Although some Catholic dioceses conduct a campaign of this magnitude every 15 years to address larger, challenging financial needs, there are no current plans to conduct another campaign in the Diocese of Beaumont. Therefore, this campaign will focus on the needs as they are now.
4. Do the parishes have to reach their campaign target goal to receive their parish share portion? And do they have to wait until the end of the five-year redemption period to receive their parish share?
No. Once a parish reaches the 2010 BFA goal, 20 cents of every dollar raised is returned to the parish for its needs. A parish receives these funds whether it reaches their campaign target goal or not. Parish Share payments will be disbursed once a year so that parishes do not have to wait until the end of the five-year redemption period to begin taking care of their needs.
5. How long is the pledge period?
A pledge to the Together for God’s Good Work Campaign can be spread out over five years. However, the donor has the option to select either a five or three year payment plan or pay it at one time.
6. How were the parish target goals determined?
The parish targets are based on approximately 1 times each parish’s annual offertory plus its 2007 Bishop’s Faith Appeal Goal. However, this campaign is based on a “Good Faith Effort” and is not an assessment.
7. I thought this was going to be a $20 million campaign. When did it turn into a $25 million campaign?
A major benefactor was concerned that several elements needed more funding. The donor generously offered to make up the difference between $20 million and $25 million to meet that extra need. The increase in goal has not affected the campaign target goals for the parishes.