LAKE CHARLES – The Diocese of Lake Charles recently concluded a planning study to test the feasibility of a major diocesan-wide fundraising effort. The study was conducted over the summer. Parishioners were invited to provide their opinions on (or their level of support for) specific needs affecting the diocese’s long-term strategic vision.
Bishop Glen John Provost, with the advice of the Presbyteral Council and Finance Council, commissioned the study to test $26 million in potential projects and goals to support the diocese’s many missions.
Projects tested included: increasing the priest retirement and seminarian education funds, expanding the programs of Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana, providing a place for youth programs at the Saint Charles Center, and restoring the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
“Since I arrived in Lake Charles more than eight years ago, many have shared what they thought were the most important needs of our parishes and our diocese,” Bishop Provost said. “In addition, we were looking at what needed to be done to ensure the diocese remained on solid financial footing for many years to come.”
Forums for the Faithful
The planning study sought input from both parishioners and clergy via personal interviews, town hall Forums for the Faithful held throughout the diocese, and a combination of mail, online, and in-pew surveys. In all, over 600 people participated.
“We are really pleased with the turnout of parishioners,” said Msgr. Daniel Torres, vicar general for the diocese. Open and honest feedback is what we wanted, and it is what we got. This has helped us with our decision-making process.”
Gretchen N. Jester, a parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, attended the August 4 Forum for the Faithful held at the Cathedral said, "At first, I did not know what to expect at the meeting. I got a little more information on what diocesan leaders were thinking. It was nice to know that they were still identifying the issues and working on plans to address them. I got the feeling that they wanted to know how we felt about these issues. They were truly interested in what we had to say and listened to the questions that were raised."
Based on an analysis of the study’s findings and feedback received after sharing the results with pastors and the diocesan pastoral council and finance council, Bishop Provost and diocesan leadership voted to move ahead with a diocesan-wide capital campaign.
“The diocese has never done anything like this. We were thankful for the participation we received and were heartened by the overwhelming support for us to move forward in a measured, thoughtful manner, “ Bishop Provost said.
“It seems most everyone knows that if we do not address these issues now, they only get more difficult to address in subsequent years. Now is the time”.
The diocese indicated that the first step in the campaign will be a preparation phase to form committees composed of clergy and laity to help advise the bishop and lead the effort. The diocese said to look for additional announcements regarding the campaign’s leadership and final goals of the campaign in the following months.
“There is still much work that needs to happen to incorporate, the best we can, the responses we heard in the study. And once we get through that, the campaign itself will be hard work. But we know the Lord will provide. And we know he will bless our work,” the Bishop concluded.
Download and/or print a PDF copy of the Planning Study Report here: PS-Report-Bulletin.pdf