By Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development
Father Vincentius Do has been the pastor at St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church, Sunset Park, since February, 2015. But with less than a year under his belt, he and the parishioners have already begun work in Block 2 of the Generations of Faith campaign, which just kicked off this month.
“I’m still learning and the people are still learning (about me),” Father Do said, but overall, the people are welcoming, generous and devout to supporting their parish community.
“As long as I explain what we are doing together… it’s very encouraging and inspiring to work together.”
A melting pot of ethnicities, St. Agatha has large Hispanic and Chinese communities. These diverse groups of parishioners are very excited about the idea of passing on their faith to future generations.
Father Do said the majority of the parishioners came into a church that was already built for them – none of the current parishioners were around when the church was built, so that’s a terrific example of what they inherited from previous generations and is something they want to work toward maintaining for future generations.
Father Do shared that what is most gratifying about working on the campaign in his inaugural year has been the response and generosity of the people. He said, “We are asking people to think about what they can sacrifice for this campaign. When you ask and they see what is being done with the money and the case is something they can relate to, the response has been wonderful so far. One thing I’ve learned is that people are generous – a lot more than we think they are.”
Though St. Agatha has only just begun their campaign block, Father Do is optimistic about the early efforts. “Do not be afraid of the goal,” he said. “When you look at the goal (initially), it’s a big number! People get afraid, but the goal is reachable.”
He also shared this piece of advice: “Make sure you have a good case. (St. Agatha) started very early on and we brought in an architect for a consultation and estimate. Make it realistic. Make it something that people can connect with. That is a key element – have a good case and people will be willing to give to it.”
Father Do also is appreciative of the assistance he is receiving from his campaign team made up of parishioners, who have been very generous with their time as well.
“I have to slow them down sometimes and say, ‘Okay we have to do this step by step,’” Father Do said of his eager parish leaders.
Overall, Father Do believes that Generations of Faith will have a wonderful impact on the diocese. “When we have the funding, we can do what we want to do. We’ll take better care of retired priests, we’ll implement better programs and ministries for the youth, and the majority of the money will go back to the parishes to help them maintain their facilities and develop programs.”