With more than $40 million in total pledges, the Grateful to God’s Providence Campaign has almost reached its $50 million goal as parishes in the campaign’s Block 4 gear up for their weekend pledge drives.
About $4 million in rebate checks to date have been sent to parishes that have thus far participated in the campaign. The most recent checks were mailed out in early October, and the next checks are set to be distributed in January.
“I think the campaign has been going very well. We’ve had a generous response from dedicated parishioners which has created great momentum,” said Daryl Thomas, executive director of Guidance in Giving, the stewardship and development firm overseeing the campaign.
Thomas said the parishes in Block 3 of the campaign raised about $5.9 million in pledges. The 37 parishes in Block 4 have a collective fundraising goal of around $13 million.
The Block 4 parishes are wrapping up the reception phase of their six-month block, and will soon be entering the commitment phase, a weekend in-pew appeal where parishioners are asked to make their financial gifts.
“The commitment phase stretches over multiple weeks,” Thomas said.
The Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign is a two-year initiative, with a four-year redemption period, to commemorate the Diocese of Providence’s 150th anniversary in 2022 by raising $50 million to support the Church’s mission at the diocesan and parish levels.
Of the campaign goal, $30 million is earmarked for the diocese:
∙ $8 million for an endowment for seminarian education
∙ $8 million for an endowment to support retired priests
∙ $5 million for an endowment to benefit Catholic school tuition assistance
∙ $5 million to bolster the Catholic Charities and Social Services endowment and operations
∙ $4 million to help pay for renovations to the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul
The remaining $20 million in campaign funds will be given to local parishes. Each parish has a campaign goal, and receives back 40 percent of money that is collected toward that goal. Of any money that is collected over that amount, the parish will receive 60 percent.
St. Aidan-St. Patrick Church in Cumberland, a Block 3 parish, raised $287,675 in pledges, exceeding its $279,000 goal.
“I’m very pleased with that. I’m very proud of our people and grateful to them for stepping up,” said Msgr. Jacques L. Plante, the pastor of St. Aidan-St. Patrick Church.
Msgr. Plante said the money that his parish will get back from the campaign will go toward updating the bathrooms in the parish hall and making them handicapped accessible, as well as building a kitchen in the hall.
“The people are generous in spirit, so I wasn’t surprised by their generosity with their own funds,” Monsignor Plante said. “I think people have been working hard and coming together, trying to unite as one parish.”
At St. Pius X Church in Westerly, which was also in Block 3, parishioners exceeded their $405,000 goal, raising around $515,000 in total pledges.
“We did really well. I was pleasantly surprised,” said Father Michael Najim, the pastor of St. Pius X Church who admitted that he was “kind of skeptical” early on that the parish would meet its goal.
“It’s a lot of money,” Father Najim said. “We’re a good parish, but I wouldn’t consider us a wealthy parish. But our people are very committed. We’re certainly a generous parish. Our parishioners have always been very good about stepping up when they’re asked to help.”
Father Najim said his parish didn’t have many “major gifts,” but added that hundreds of parishioners contributed. He said the receptions were well-attended and credited Guidance in Giving for answering parishioners’ questions and addressing any concerns they had.
Father Najim said his parish will be using the money it receives from the campaign to upgrade the parish hall kitchen and bathrooms.
“We’re going to renovate the kitchen and bring it up to code. That’s going to be a great benefit to the parish. We’ll be able to use it for more social events and hopefully serve the hungry,” said Father Najim, who added there are other projects he would like to eventually tackle.
“If we have more money after that… We’d like to upgrade the entire church hall if possible, to beautify it if you will,” Father Najim said.
The Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign has been established as a separate corporation. The monies raised through the Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign are restricted from being reallocated to fund lawsuits, settlements or any other areas. These campaign contributions will go directly to fund the case elements presented and campaign expenses.
For more information, visit dioceseofprovidence.org/grateful-for-gods-providence-capital-campaign, or call the Stewardship and Development Office at 401-277-2121.