Capital Campaign Case Statement
About Our Diocese
About Our Diocese
Established by Pope Pius XII in 1956, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau extends over 39 counties and includes 66 parishes, 18 missions, and four chapels. Although situated in the heartland, the Church in Southern Missouri is truly a mission territory. Our mission identity is also illustrated by the size and location of our parishes: small, often separated by great distances, and situated among many people of other denominations. Furthermore, our diocese faces the challenge and opportunity to minister to immigrants from Latin America, Mexico, Vietnam, and other places. Finally, our mission status makes us one of 94 dioceses in the country which receive financial assistance from Catholic Extension Society.
The Gospel message is spread by dozens of priests, permanent deacons, religious women and men; hundreds of lay teachers, administrators, and catechists; and thousands of parish lay leaders. This message reaches more than 65,000 Catholics, including over 8,300 children, youth, and young adults who attend Catholic schools and Parish Schools of Religion. It is through these young people that the Church in Southern Missouri seeks to grow.
Since the diocese’s founding nearly 60 years ago, its Catholic population has doubled. Even with this growth, Catholics comprise just 6 percent of the overall population in the diocese, yet our positive impact in southern Missouri is significant.
The diocese supports 45-plus ministries and programs to advance its mission and to grow God’s Kingdom through families and parishes. These ministries and programs are supported by the faith-filled people of the diocese through the Diocesan Development Fund (DDF), which was established in 1971. During its existence, DDF has raised over $56 million from over 350,000 gifts/pledges. The current average gift to DDF is roughly $280. Approximately 44 percent of diocesan families contribute to DDF. These factors make it one of the most successful diocesan annual-giving programs in the country. While DDF successfully supports the annual operating needs of the diocese, it is unable to fund the major capital and endowment needs that exist today. Because of the importance of DDF to the overall funding of diocesan ministries and programs, it will be implemented on its regular schedule during the capital campaign.
Grateful for Our Past…Preparing for Our Future
The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau is called upon daily to continue, and even increase, its services and ministries, and to secure their funding. The diocese must continue to meet this challenge if it is to proclaim the reign of God in Word, Sacrament, and Service.
The diocese seeks to secure its future in God’s service by conducting a capital campaign. The campaign seeks to raise a minimum of $15 million to augment existing endowments for preparing our future priests and priest retirement, and to establish a new endowment for youth formation. The endowment funds will:
- Generate earnings to address needs of the areas outlined; the principal of the endowment funds will not be touched;
- Grow through future gifts and contributions;
- Be managed by professional investment managers and monitored by the Diocesan Finance Council and the Investment Committee; and
- Operate under the responsibility of the Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
The capital campaign differs from DDF. DDF primarily funds the yearly operational needs of the diocese. We are conducting the capital campaign in an effort to address long-term financial needs and expand opportunities for the future.
Retired Priests Fund
Currently, there are 15 retired priests in our diocese. We are blessed that some of these men are willing to serve in our parishes, as they are able. It is important that we provide a pension and supplemental medical coverage for these men so they are able to live out their remaining years with dignity.
The customary retirement age for priests in our diocese is 70. At retirement age, priests receive compensation for their supplementary insurance and an annual retirement allocation of $20,820.
At present, our Priests’ Mutual Benefit Society (PMBS) fund is not fully-funded and will likely not sustain itself beyond another decade. The average age of our active diocesan priests is 56. Combining this with a longer life expectancy, it is evident that we need to increase our current PMBS fund. A representative from the Christian Brothers Retirement Planning Services recently completed an actuarial analysis. This analysis predicts that, by the year 2019, we will use not only investment income, but also will need to start using the principal of this fund itself. Increasing this endowment by $5 million will extend the number of years the PMBS will be adequately funded to provide for current and future diocesan priests in their retirement years.
Many priests have spent their lives in service to our parishes and families. We must secure their well-being for basic retirement needs after their lifetime of service, devotion, and sacrifice to our diocese.
Preparing Our Future Priests
Vocations to the priesthood are vital for meeting the spiritual and pastoral needs of the 20,000-plus households currently living their faith in our diocese. In recent years, the diocese prioritized the fostering of vocations. With the efforts and prayers of many, we have been blessed to see a tripling in our number of seminarians studying for the priesthood.
In the summer of 2015, the diocese celebrated the ordination of two men to the priesthood. As of fall 2015, 16 men are in various stages of formation. This number is very encouraging, and in the next five to six years, we could see as many as 11 ordinations!
Along with this good news comes a happy challenge: the expense of educating and preparing future priests. The endowment is not large enough to generate sufficient funds for the current number of young men studying for the priesthood. In addition, we hope to maintain or even increase the number of men in formation.
Seven men are in various stages of formation in seminary colleges. The majority of their educational costs are assumed by them or their families.
The training of seminarians in graduate theology is highly specialized. The cost to theology students and their related expenses is totally financed by the diocese. Currently, six seminarians from our diocese are in graduate theology and three are in pre-theology. The cost of tuition and room and board for these individuals is over $35,000 per year. Related costs of books, health insurance, summer programs, promotions, stipends, and transportation are not covered in the above amount. All of the above costs, like expenses for all types of higher education, continue to increase. Part of this increase is due to more rigorous program requirements.
Current funding for seminarian education is through a combination of the annual Christmas collection, earnings on the seminary endowment, and miscellaneous gifts. Last year, $350,000 was earned through these sources; however, over $700,000 was disbursed for vocation expenses, mostly for seminarian education and related costs. The major factor for this shortfall is that the endowment for seminarians is underfunded. Furthermore, with a possible increase of additional men studying for the priesthood, the deficit between earning sources and expenses for the diocesan vocation program will continue to increase. By increasing the endowment for seminarian education by $5 million, we will be able to fund this program well into the future, even with an increase in the number of seminarians.
Parents are the primary educators of their children in the faith. Families are aided by priests, consecrated religious, teachers, catechists, retreat directors, campus ministers, friends, coaches, and others. We all desire Catholic youth, adolescents, and young men and women and their families to have the opportunities to develop moral, religious, and spiritual values that are critical in today’s world.
Studies show that adolescents who participate in parish youth ministry programs identify faith and moral formation as a significant contribution to their life. They have a profound sense of commitment to the Catholic Church, attend Sunday Mass regularly, and show continued growth while they remain involved in a youth program. These are positive signs that the Church’s investment in ministry with adolescents is making a difference in their lives and in the life of the Church.
However, the Church’s ministry with adolescents is confronted by new challenges:
- The social and economic forces affecting today’s families;
- Consumerism, entertainment media, and pop culture encouraging a culture of isolation; and
- Families lacking sufficient time together to develop strong family relationships, communicate life-giving values and a religious faith, celebrate family rituals, participate in family activities, and contribute to the well-being of their community.
The Church must help in addressing these contemporary challenges.
The diocese seeks to develop initiatives that will lead our young people to deepened encounters with Christ including formation, spirituality, and service. Our goals for ministry with youth will reflect those of the greater Church such as:
- Empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today;
- Draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community; and
- Foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.
The diocese cares for its youth through the Office of Youth Ministry and the diocese’s commitment to Catholic Schools, Parish Schools of Religion, College Campus Ministries, young adult ministries, Hispanic Youth Ministries, the Steubenville Mid-America Youth Conferences, etc. While these are significant, we seek even more creative ways our youth could deepen their relationship with Jesus and form them as intentional disciples of Jesus.
In addition, the diocese currently serves youth through operating:
- Camp Re-NEW-All (summer camp for children in grades 5-9);
- Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), and Kyros (retreat experiences for adolescents);
- Just Five Days (mission trips);
- Annual Diocesan Youth Conference; and
- National Catholic Youth Conference.
The diocese seeks to establish a $5 million endowment fund dedicated to the Christian formation of youth, adolescents, and young men and women and their families. Over time, it is hoped that the interest of this endowment will:
- Offer a retreat experience to children during both their grade school and high school years;
- Identify and establish retreat sites in the diocese;
- Provide the means for offering retreats;
- Fund the possible hiring of a retreat director or team of individuals working with our youth;
- Support various needs for campus ministry;
- Provide scholarships for those in financial need to attend retreats and Catholic conferences;
- Underwrite contemporary programs to engage youth in their parish communities;
- Provide training and formation of lay ministers responsible for youth ministry; and
- Fund other developing opportunities.
Grateful for Our Past … Preparing for Our Future
In each of our lives, the gifts of others have been extremely significant. As we celebrate our 60th anniversary as a diocese, we do well to reflect upon our predecessors who established and grew our diocese. This includes approximately 250 priests. Today, we follow in their footsteps and accept the challenge to share and respond to our faith by enhancing the funding for seminary education and priest retirement, and by establishing a new endowment for youth formation. We are indeed grateful for our past as we prepare for our future.
On September 15, 2015, Bishop James V. Johnston was appointed the new bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Because of the urgency of the needs, the Priests Committee reached the consensus that the capital campaign must move forward with the same focus and resolve that existed during Bishop Johnston’s tenure.
Our Capital Campaign: The Church in southern Missouri needs you
You can participate in this endeavor in four ways. First, please pray for the success of the capital campaign. Next, take an active part by volunteering your time when your parish implements its campaign. Third, share the goals of the campaign with others. Finally, make a gift to the campaign. In returning God’s gifts, we joyfully make a return gift to the Lord in a planned, proportionate, and sacrificial manner.
Every family in the diocese will be approached in some manner. A gift amount, with a three- to five-year pledge period, is suggested for each household to prayerfully consider. The specific gift request is formulated with our goal in mind and meant to provide a frame of reference for each family’s participation. No judgment is made on the level of gift you or others make. Grateful for Our Past…Preparing for Our Future seeks equal sacrifices, not equal gifts.
All administrative expenses related to the capital campaign will be covered by gift proceeds.