PROVIDENCE — With over $30 million in total pledges, the Diocese of Providence is slightly past the halfway mark of the $50 million goal it set for its Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign.
The parishes in “Block 3” of the four-block campaign are in the midst of planning for their weekend pledge drives in May while the churches in Block 2 are expecting to receive the first of several quarterly disbursements that will be used for identified local parish needs.
“Our parish share will be $146,000 to be used for a ramp for better accessibility into our parish hall, upgrades to the church heating system and an outdoor shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said Father Richard Valentine, the pastor of St. Michael Church in Esmond.
Father Valentine said his parish’s goal for the campaign was $441,000. As of mid-April, the parish had received $365,000 in pledges from 109 registered families, about 83 percent of the parish goal.
"I think our parish did very well,” Father Valentine said, adding that he was “especially gratified by the hard work and leadership” of the parish campaign team, which was led by chairman John Nugent, and the regular parish staff.
“They met the challenge with great generosity and faithfulfulness as they always do,” Father Valentine said.
The Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign is a two-year initiative, with a four-year redemption period, to commemorate the Diocese of Providence’s 150th anniversary in 2022 by raising $50 million to support the Church’s mission at the diocesan and parish levels.
The bulk of the $50 million pledge goal — $30 million — is earmarked for the diocese:
∙ $8 million for an endowment for seminarian education
∙ $8 million for an endowment to support retired priests
∙ $5 million for an endowment to benefit Catholic school tuition assistance
∙ $5 million to bolster the Catholic Charities and Social Services
endowment and operations
∙ $4 million to help pay for renovations to the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
The remaining $20 million in campaign funds will be given to local parishes. Each parish has a campaign goal, and receives back 40 percent of money that is collected toward that goal. Of any money that is collected over that amount, the parish will receive 60 percent.
Parishes that participated in Block 1 began receiving their disbursements last fall. The parishes will receive quarterly disbursements until all the money that has been pledged by families is collected.
Father Robert Perron, the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Providence, said his parish community saw the campaign as an opportunity to raise money needed to repair the church’s stained glass windows, to improve the lighting and replace the rectory’s 100-year-old boiler.
Although it is a relatively poor parish in South Providence, St. Michael the Archangel Church — which was in Block 2 — raised $254,000 in pledges, well above its original $186,000 goal. Father Perron said parishioners responded in a generous manner.
“It surprised me, not that the generosity surprised me... It just seemed much more effortless than I thought it would be,” said Father Perron, who discussed the initiative from the pulpit and whose parish held after-Mass receptions to present the campaign to the faithful.
“All those things seemed to work better than any program I’ve seen in the past that we’ve had in the parish,” Father Perron said.
The 28 parishes in Block 2 have a collective goal of just under $10.5 million. The 30 parishes in Block 3 have a collective goal of $8.7 million, while the Block 4 parishes — which will start their campaigns later this year — have a total goal of approximately $16 million, said Executive Director Daryl Thomas, of Guidance in Giving, the stewardship and development firm overseeing the Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign for the Diocese of Providence.
As of mid-April, Thomas said there have been more than 250 receptions since the campaign began in January 2018. Each block is six months long, with the first half of each block consisting of planning and receptions, and the second half including the pledge drives and follow-up. For Block 3, more than 94 receptions have already been held for people to learn about the campaign and its goals.
Robert Corcoran, the director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Providence, said the average family is making a four-year pledge to the campaign. Pledges are payable in monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual installments over a four-year period.
Corcoran said he was grateful for those families who have already pledged and are prayerfully considering how much they will pledge in the campaign.
“Anytime we can support pastors for their leadership and initiative in any of the things we do, it’s a great thing to do,” Corcoran said, adding that the $30 million in pledges is “an important milestone” in the local Church’s history.
“We’re very grateful,” Corcoran said.
The Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign has been established as a separate corporation. The monies raised through the Grateful for God’s Providence Campaign are restricted from being reallocated to fund lawsuits, settlements or any other areas. These campaign contributions will go directly to fund the case elements presented and campaign expenses.
For more information, visit dioceseofprovidence.org/grateful-for-gods-providence-capital-campaign, or call the Stewardship and Development Office at 401-277-2121.