The diocese’s One Heart, One Soul campaign has come to the parish of St. Augustine, Dundas! Launched at the masses of September 20 & 21, parishioners watched a video presentation outlining the broader program goals of strengthening parishes and supporting shared ministries such as chaplaincies in our universities, hospitals and prisons, as well as outreach to migrant workers and assistance to parishes in need.
Father Whitfield’s homily, a reflection on what God has given us to care for, nurture, grow and to offer to our Lord in thanksgiving, emphasized the need for a total community effort in which all respond according to their ability. Father Whitfield said it was not a matter of the “number” on the pledge form, but that each makes a prayerful decision about what can be offered as a sacrifice from one’s own circumstances.
If St. Augustine’s reaches its goal of $270,000 pledged over three years, the parish will be able to retain 90 percent of the funds it raises owing to its falling in the category of a “parish in need” (parishes with incomes less than $300k qualify for a bonus upon reaching their target). The funds will be applied to parish projects including renovation of the hall and the creation of a fund for ministries. Our long-term debt will also be addressed. Standing at approximately $1.2 million, this effort is not meant to eliminate it given the relatively modest goal of this campaign.
The total debt represents the cost of the recent renovation (roughly half), and our new boiler system on top of pre-existing debt. The money is owed to the diocese who derive an income from our servicing of the debt (and so helps fund the central operations of the diocese). The current debt load has been judged by the diocesan business office to be manageable. The best strategy for settling the debt will be to grow our parish.
“By analogy,” Father Whitfield explains, “a wise homeowner keeps his home in good repair, and takes advantage of opportunities to enhance its value as an investment—that’s good stewardship of a personal asset. For a parish, it’s a matter of maintaining a building for worship, but also making investments in people, technology and the facility to keep effectively serving the world God loves, and to continually draw people in, one generation to the next.”