Re-Igniting Our Faith is a $45 million Diocese-wide, parish-based campaign to empower and enable parishes to strengthen and invest in themselves as communities of faith -- spiritually, economically and organizationally.
• you are a first-time visitor anywhere within the 10,419 square miles that span the 14 counties of our beautiful Diocese;
• you spend each day for the next 126 days in a different parish;
• you encounter in every parish modern day disciples on fire about their faith, their vocation and their mission;
• you feel personally welcome everywhere, whether in a sacred space, an office, a place of business or even on the street;
• you meet a student or a retired person, an usher or a receptionist, a priest or a lay minister, and you get the distinct feeling that this person is a devoted follower of Christ;
• you hear, in the course of your conversations, that there is active evangelization: Everyone seems to have connected over the last week with one other person who was not connected to the parish the week before; and
• you notice that conversations, among clergy and laypersons alike, center on people and activities that are uplifting, encouraging and healing.
Everything good you can imagine about our "faith on fire" already exists somewhere in many parishes of our Diocese! We are blessed with laypersons and religious, deacons and priests with talents, experience and passion who can inspire others in our faith that moves mountains.
We also have, God knows, hundreds of young people waiting to be invited and engaged in our vision of a faith on fire in a world that is thirsting for the joyful promise of the Gospel.
Our future is dawning and within our sight. We are embarking on a campaign to secure the foundation for our future, which will fuel our larger vision of growing and enhancing our Catholic community of faith for current and future generations.
Our future includes insuring that everyone baptized in the faith will become who God calls to be and to live our faith openly together.
Are there mountains to move? Sure. There always are, as we well know, and as Jesus has reminded us. But the way to climb and even uproot them is by re-igniting our faith in Him and the power of His Holy Spirit to inspire us, beginning right at home. Here is how we will do it together:
• "Re-Igniting Our Faith" is a $45 million Diocese-wide, parish-based campaign to empower and enable parishes to strengthen and invest in themselves as communities of faith -- spiritually, economically and organizationally.
Every parish family is invited to re-imagine: What is the Lord calling us to become? To whom are we being sent? Who is not yet among us actively, but who needs to be -- and whom we need as well in order to be who we called to be?
• The Re-Igniting Our Faith Foundation is a trust established and dedicated solely for the support of parishes. It will ensure parish communities are and remain dynamic, welcoming and well positioned to spread the joy of the Gospel, now and in the future.
• This is a home-tailored, parish-based campaign. In every parish, all parishioners and households will be invited to participate by making sacrificial gifts of their vision, experience, and both personal and financial resources. The campaign will be implemented in each parish, over three time frames from now through early 2019.
• Funds raised will be split 70/30 through each parish campaign. More than 70 percent ($31.5 million) will go back directly to each parish to address defined local needs.
Parishes are being empowered to utilize and invest this money to become more dynamic faith communities. The freedom and flexibility to use 70 percent of the funds from this campaign will require creativity and brainstorming by parish leaders. This is a great opportunity - and a challenge - both to sharpen and to implement strategically the mission of each parish.
• Thirty percent of the funds ($13.5 million) will be used to benefit the pastoral needs of all parishes, being allocated to the Re-Igniting Our Faith Foundation, a separate but supportive entity.
This will provide critical funding to assist our retired priests, so many of whom continue in active sacramental ministry ($4 million); increase support for our flourishing vocations ($4.5 million); invest in our bright future, re-invigorating our faith, growing youth and young adult ministries and enhancing evangelization and communications ($3 million); and develop our Catholic schooling resources, supporting families and students, teachers and catechists ($2 million).
A strong case for your personal support and dedicated leadership will be key components of running a successful campaign. Each parish will have a campaign director working with them every step of the way to ensure the campaign is a success in every parish.
A campaign participation letter has been sent to every parish leader, which outlines the timing and goal of their individual parish campaign. In the coming weeks and months, a campaign representative will be contacting parish leaders to prepare for and implement the campaign.
Please pray for the success of Re-Igniting Our Faith, which I am entrusting to the heart of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, patroness of our Diocese. Thank you in advance for your participation in your local parish campaign and for all that you do to spread the joy of the Gospel.
Together, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, living in Mary, we will build up our parish communities and re-ignite our faith!
(Follow the Bishop at www.facebook.com/AlbanyBishopEd and on Twitter @AlbBishopEd.)
(October 12, 2017)