My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
With tremendous joy, it is my pleasure to share with you exciting news from our Generations of Faith campaign. Nearly two and a half years ago, after an extensive planning study across our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens and significant consultation with our pastors, lay leaders and parishioners, Generations of Faith was launched. This Capital Campaign began with 23 pilot parishes during the winter of 2015 and has now moved through all of the parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn and focused on extraordinary needs: to strengthen our parishes, to invigorate youth evangelization, to foster the formation of our faith, and to fulfill our promise to care for those priests who have faithfully served.
Because of your extraordinary generosity, Generations of Faith has raised more than $128 million. Achieving this remarkable milestone was made possible by the leadership and unwavering support of our pastors, associate pastors, and parishioners, as well as the prayers of our Catholic community and the support of tens of thousands of faithful families in our parishes across Brooklyn and Queens.
I am grateful for the support of our priests who spearheaded the parish campaigns over the last two years, and who themselves have generously supported the campaign effort with personal pledges totaling $2 million. In a very special way, I would also like to acknowledge the tireless and tremendous efforts of Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, Vicar for Development, and extend my sincere thanks to the Catholic Foundation team for their extraordinary dedication to Generations of Faith over the last three years. Additionally, I extend my gratitude to Father Thomas Doyle, the Chair of the Pastors’ Advisory Committee, and its members. I also acknowledge the assistance of Community Counselling Services (CCS Fundraising), our campaign consultants.
The overwhelming response to the invitation of the campaign has demonstrated that we are a community alive in our faith. From the inception of the pilot phase, we witnessed inspirational stories informing us of our pastors who lead us, volunteers who inspire us, generous donors who support us, senior priests who have worked alongside us on this effort, and determined parish communities who have united around the campaign. Clergy and lay collaborators have demonstrated that we are of one heart and mind, and they have shown their love for the family of faith that is 1.5 million strong in parishes throughout Brooklyn and Queens. As you all well know, our Catholic community is a mosaic made up of different cultures and ethnicities. However, all generations of our diocese have come to work on this campaign, giving of their resources, their time and most importantly to pray together the words of our Blessed Mother in the Magnificat, which is our campaign prayer.
As the fundraising portion of our campaign comes to a conclusion and our donors faithfully fulfill their pledges over the coming three to five years, the positive impact of Generations of Faith will be felt throughout our diocese and Catholic communities. It is my hope that our parishes and Campaign teams will complete the work started during the campaign to continue their efforts on collecting pledges as the more than 35,000 generous donors fulfill their commitments over the coming months and years. Already, $6.8 million has been disbursed to our senior priests trusts, $7.4 million has been directed to 57 parishes which have already started projects outlined in their case statements, and more than $1 million in funds are being utilized this year through the Catholic Youth Ministry Initiative at 70 parishes. Generations of Faith will leave a legacy of great commitment to further the ministry of Christ at our parishes and the tradition of our Catholic faith for future generations.
During the visit of Pope Francis to New York in September of 2015, our Holy Father challenged us to consider how we might bring more joy and hope into the world. Generations of Faith is no longer simply a fundraising campaign. It has enhanced our Church and our parishes in Brooklyn and Queens in so many ways. The challenges ahead of us are significant, but our will is strong and our Church is alive. With a grateful heart, I thank the many Catholic communities who have turned our simple theme, “Generations of Faith,” into a passionate embrace of the future of the Church in Brooklyn and Queens.
On behalf of the people, parishes and programs in the Diocese of Brooklyn that will benefit from your generosity and prayers, I ask God’s choicest blessings upon you for your faithfulness. Truly, you have put out into the deep waters of supporting those who serve you and those whom we serve in this great diocese.