Monday, June 24, 2013

The Bishop’s Capital Campaign

Dear Parish Family,

Congratulations to our parish for achieving our Capital Campaign and Endowment goal for the Diocese of Dallas.  Your generosity is extraordinary. 

Before I give you the details of the current report I want to especially thank those on our Campaign Committee who worked tirelessly to make this a reality.  There are those who, seemingly with great ease, give of their time and sacrifice their plans to make all this so.  You are like stars in the crown of the Blessed Mother.

Perhaps we have learned a few things of importance concerning how we do fund raising in the Church.  One of the characteristics of this campaign was that the Pastor and others spent time contacting parishioners and discussing their giving.  This was so foreign to me that it was uncomfortable at first. Discussing how much people should or could give was not easy.  This is one of those areas of Church life that is usually off limits.

The very first meeting I had with parishioners was one of the most fruitful.  Thereafter, I felt completely at home.  I was not able to make as many of the visits as I came to hope, but those that I did have turned out to be a real source of joy. 
I am trying now to find a way to make this a continued part of our parish life: to visit with parishioners having the simple goal of spending 30 minutes or so to get to know each other better.  If this is interesting to you, call the parish office and speak to Mary Boyle (Adult Formation) 972.727.1177, ext. 2213 or Sara Walsh (Pastoral Center Receptionist) 972.727.1177, ext. 0.

The “numbers” of those who contributed were 460 pledges which is only about 10% of the parish.  The total given so far is $2,496,696.  Actually, even though we have made our goal, we hope that everyone in the parish will still contribute, as from this point on, St. Jude will receive 70% of all monies pledged.  Remember that we were part of the five parishes that were used to test the campaign plans.  This fall, the other parishes will take up the efforts.  We can use their timeline to continue to pledge to the effort. 

Remember the greatest significance of our support is to the children of the diocese and for those in need.

Again, thank you for your support.
In Christ,

Fr. Tim

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Boy Scouts

Almost every page on the internet was seemingly devoted to the flap over admitting openly declared homosexual children to the Boy Scout program.  There are things about this decision that I believe are not within the goal and purpose of the Boy Scouts. 

Our Bishop joins all of us who are sponsoring agencies to see if there is a way that we can continue to sponsor the Boy Scout Troop.  To withdraw is a serious matter.  We are, at this point maintaining vigilance and listening for our Bishop’s guidance. 

I would ask everyone involved in the Scouting program to join in this effort by “staying the course”.  I can assure you that whatever program we will use to guide our young people, it will be recognizably Catholic.  I also urge you not to withdraw your support and participation.  If the Church bowed to every whim of society we would be unable to guide our people.  We will always stand firm in our resolve to teach and live the Catholic faith.

Capital Campaign
We have reached our goal of $2,375,000.  Thanks to all of you who participated and gave so faithfully and generously.  The actual amount pledged to date is $2,430,085 , or $55,085, (102%) over the goal.

One of the features of our capital campaign is the incentive to give that involves the whole parish.  Getting to this point and achieving the goal has been like an 880 sprint.  At end we race are able to realize the value of our gifts.  For every $100 given $70 come back to the parish.  This allows us to have a greater share in supporting the diocese but also allows us to find a way to satisfy our needs. 

After a period of time we will begin investigating some secondary goals to see if they fit well.  I would encourage you to consider being a part of our campaign.  That alone should inspire us, to know that we have a real share in the parish’s work.

Kitchen Work
The demolishing of the old kitchen has begun.  Although concerns for safety necessitate that we will have to avoid the old parish hall and kitchen, you can be assured that we are making progress.  We likely will be finished sometime in August.   The space that we are creating with this project is very useful and should be very efficient. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Difference Does it Make?

Our Bishop has described this time in the history of our diocese as an “historic” moment. The homily for today will have more to say about this. As you read this in the pew or at home, I encourage you to reflect more deeply on this description. It is historic, not just because of the amounts of money that we are trying to raise, but also because it is a moment of faith. In this “year of faith” we are being given another point of reflection to aid us in our consideration. A decision is wrapped into this act of faith. That is what we need to consider.

In the duration of my priesthood there have been too many times when I find myself fretting about the parish. Will we meet our goal? Is it even possible? It is not merely about an artificial or man-made finish line. It is about making a choice in favor of the Church and the work we do. Will we choose the Church? Will we choose help to take the church in a new direction?

Many times we have re-called this “new direction” and now our recollection brings us to this catharsis. Now we have to choose. Life is filled with these moments. The painful ones either have to do with our personal comfort or with money. But all choices should be motivated by the knowledge of God’s love for us. We make this choice, and basing it on love we most certainly have a better opportunity to be successful.

I suppose everyone has a favored Bible reading. I have a few. This is one that helped to guide me as I became Catholic.
Isaiah 2:1
This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, The mountain of the LORD's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it. 3 Many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us go up to the LORD's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. 5 House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
 Together let us build a new day, a new direction.

Bishop Lynch High School’s Dual Enrollment Program

With our campaign we have had the opportunity to hear something of the parish schools. Here is a blog from Bishop Farrell.

Bishop Lynch High School’s Dual Enrollment Program
By Bishop Kevin Farrell, May 30, 2013

Bishop Lynch High School graduates are entering colleges and universities as sophomores and juniors in their first year thanks to the school’s Dual Enrollment Program which offers college
credit for certain high school courses.

In 2010 Victoria Erlinger registered as a junior at Texas A&M in her freshman year with 87 semester hours. Chelsea Firra, BL’s 2013 salutatorian will enter Truman State University in the fall with 85 semester hours.

Lynch, the largest private high school in the State of Texas, hosts the largest Dual Enrollment Program in the state, offering more than 50 courses a year in English, math, history, science and the arts. In the 2012-2013 academic year 360 students (grades 9-12) participated.

To be eligible to participate, students must pass the Dallas County Community College entrance exam or be exempt by their SAT or ACT scores. Once enrolled, students must maintain a 3.0 average. The last three graduating classes have taken over 3000 credit hours with them to college…all at no extra charge for the student and their families. All Lynch faculty members have met the academic requirements for adjunct professors at Eastfield College. This is the kind of initiative by our Catholic schools that makes them stand out among educational institutions and assures parents that their children are receiving not only a Christian value centered education but outstanding academic formation.

Bishop Lynch will observe its 50th anniversary in September. I congratulate the administration and faculty of Bishop Lynch High School for achieving and maintaining the highest level of
academic excellence for five decades.

Campaign Progress
Our campaign continues to grow, contributions continue at a good pace. We all need to be ready to make our pledge. It is so easy in this kind of campaign to simply hide from our responsibility but it will not bring the same measure of joy. We need to share our bounty with those in need. We need to do this with joy.

The current numbers are, contributed to date: $1,545,000, which is 65% of our $2,375,000 goal. $830,000 remains to be pledged. One important reminder is that 30% of the total pledged is to be returned to the parish to help us with our local projects. Sometimes we see giving from our substance as a painful necessity at best. In reality it is truly an opportunity to give thanks, to rejoice.