Christ Our Hope: Building a Vibrant Church
The Diocese of Burlington, after years of planning and prayer, has officially kicked off our first ever Christ Our Hope: Building a Vibrant Church campaign based on the results of the synod and rooted in Christ. The goal of the effort is to unite as Catholics to renew, strengthen and secure the future of the Catholic Church in Vermont. To answer your questions, we offer this list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) — a sampling of queries raised by clergy, parishioners, and staff. To view the full FAQ and learn more about the campaign visit: christourhopevt.org.
THE CHRIST OUR HOPE CAMPAIGN AND COVID-19
Why move forward with a campaign as our community works through the COVID-19 pandemic response?
These times have only reinforced that now, more than ever, the Catholic Church in Vermont, especially our parishes, need assistance from those who can help. The number one priority of the Synod to create vibrant parishes has become even more important. We know some families will be able to give while others may not. However, as Catholics, we recognize that stewardship, while important in good times, is even more important in times like these.
Could the campaign have been delayed?
Over the last two months, while following the direction of the state of Vermont and evaluating our options, we delayed campaign activities to focus on community outreach and the celebration of Easter through virtual participation. After consulting with the campaign’s clergy and executive committees and based on the guidance of the CDC and the needs of our parishes, we decided it was best to move forward with a campaign after restructuring the timeline. We will combine all parishes into one wave, with kickoff celebrations occurring in mid-August and the campaign concluding in November.
How will we ask people for money now?
What will I be asked to give? We understand that families in our faith community have been impacted; however, it is important to consider that many may have the ability to give and want to help. It is our responsibility to offer everyone the opportunity to participate in this historic campaign with the understanding that no gift is too small.
Who will be involved in the campaign?
All parishes are participating under a unified timeline, with every parishioner given the opportunity to participate through prayerful consideration of a sacrificial gift that is meaningful to them. How will we use the funds raised in this campaign?
Since this is a parish-focused campaign, 60% of the funds raised will return to the parish to support the campaign goals as defined by parish leadership. For example, a parish may use the dollars to pay for a capital improvement project, to enhance offertory or create/replenish a reserve fund. The other 40% will go to endowments in the Vermont Catholic Community Foundation. The intent is to use those funds to support faith formation to strengthen our Catholic schools, youth ministry, evangelization efforts, and emergency assistance delivered by Catholic Charities. All distributions of funds are minus campaign expenses.
How will this campaign affect offertory?
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal? The hope is it won’t affect either. Your weekly commitment turns on the lights, pays for staffing, parish ministries and programs. Simply put, it keeps the parish functioning. It’s the same with the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. The Diocese uses those dollars to support its various ministries and outreach programs. Hopefully donors will consider a gift above and beyond their regular support knowing they have three years to fulfill that commitment. If one must decide between campaign or ordinary giving, the Diocese encourages them to continue supporting ordinary giving. Please note, the intent was to include the Bishop’s Annual Appeal as part of the campaign. However, due to COVID-19, we launched it separately, with an accelerated timeline to provide immediate relief to the Diocese for operational costs and ongoing ministry to the vulnerable across the state. The campaign commitment form will include space to make a gift to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, if needed.
Who will ask parishioners to support the campaign?
You will receive your gift request in a letter signed by Bishop Coyne and your pastor. Campaign volunteers from your parish — along with the pastor — will place follow up phone calls to parishioners to review the goals, answer questions and encourage participation.
—Originally published in the Aug. 22–28, 2020, The Inland See.