The diocesan capital campaign, Together for God’s Good Work, has been put on hold while Southeast Texas recovers from Hurricane Ike.
“The capital campaign has been postponed and will not resume for at least a year while our people and Southeast Texas recover and rebuild following this devastating storm,” said Bishop Curtis Guillory, S.V.D., in making the announcement this week.
“Our immediate concerns at this time are the people of Southeast Texas, our homes, our parishes and our ministries. For example, our Catholic Charities Disaster Response Team has been busy with distributing relief supplies, and members of our diocesan staff have been visiting parishes and assessing and documenting damage. I know the Holy Spirit is guiding us as we focus our efforts on these current challenges,” Bishop Guillory said.
The Together for God’s Good Work campaign has raised $11.2 million in pledges from major donors through the efforts made during the “quiet phase” of the $25 million capital campaign. The parish phase of the campaign was getting underway as Hurricane Ike moved into the Gulf with seven parishes holding the first of their receptions.
Capital campaign funds are targeted to provide monies to meet a number of large identified needs and to strengthen the ministry of the Church in Southeast Texas well into the future. Those large needs included endowments for the infirm priests’ fund, Catholic Charities, scholarships for Catholic schools, parish youth ministry and religious education, and a development fund for Holy Family Retreat Center. Monies are also targeted for parish and mission needs as well as two building projects.
“I believe it will be prudent and wise stewardship to move forward as soon as we can with our building projects, the Catholic Pastoral Center and renovations at the Catholic Student Center at Lamar, as construction costs are expected to only escalate. We estimate that these costs will increase 15 to 20% in the coming year,” Bishop Guillory said.
“Prior to the storm, I had said because of increasing costs, we would begin those in January. Thanks to the pledges that have already been made, we may be able to still proceed,” he said.
“Although the campaign will be put on hold for at least a year, we will need to work together now more than ever to carry out God’s work and the mission of our Lord and Savior. I am inspired by so many people who are willing to help others. They remind us that God works through their stewardship and this gives us hope for our future.”
The 2009 Bishop’s Faith Appeal, which would provide operating funds for 18 diocesan ministries and Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas, was to be part of the capital campaign. The diocese now plans to conduct the appeal in 2009 separate from the campaign. When the capital campaign returns, the diocese will include that year’s BFA in the campaign.
“We must work together, and we must work prudently to meet our current needs,” Bishop Guillory said. “In light of that, the diocese will be assisting locations who have had damage and are in need of help. The diocese is also picking up the cost of tree removal for all parishes, missions, and schools. When our current needs are addressed, we will again start laying the foundation for the future,” he said.