LAKE CHARLES – The Diocese of Lake Charles announced new details of its landmark capital campaign at the Bishop’s Gala last Saturday, December 12. The diocesan-wide Return to the Lord Capital Campaign, the first in the history of the diocese, is an effort to raise $16 million to support priests, parishes, and faith ministries.
Bishop Glen John Provost came up with the campaign theme. “When I arrived in Lake Charles a little over eight years ago, many shared with me that they were passionate about wanting to do more to grow in their faith. It comes from Psalm 116: ‘How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?’ The theme touches on that importance to have our actions match our heart. We can do so by giving back and meeting the needs of our parishes and our ministries.”
The campaign will primarily help grow the investment endowments of the diocese’s Priest Retirement Fund and Seminarian Education Fund. Both will receive twenty percent of campaign proceeds, or $3.2 million respectively. Twenty percent of all funds raised during the campaign will be returned to every parish in the diocese to address specific needs.
The campaign is also raising $2.4 million (15 percent) to begin a much needed and long delayed restoration work at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, $1.6 million (10 percent) to build and operate a new youth program initiative of Saint Charles Center, and $800,000 (5 percent) to expand Catholic Charities’ services. Ten percent of the campaign will be help run the campaign and be set aside for unfulfilled intentions. Deacon Glen Bertrand, Director of the Stewardship and Development Office for the diocese, said more details of the campaign goals will be shared when the campaign officially starts in the Spring of 2016.
Each parish in the diocese has a specific monetary goal they are trying to meet. The parish goals are 125 percent of the average of the past three-year’s offertory.
“They (goals) are not unreasonable and they are not assessments,” said Father Keith Pellerin. “Parishioners will be asked to think about making a commitment over a three-year pledge period and they may also decide which elements of the campaign they really want to support.” Father Pellerin noted that the Pastor Advisory Council had discussed and agreed to recommend an 80/20 split initially in the campaign where 80 percent goes to the diocese and 20 percent of what each parish raises is returned to the parish. Then, once the parish goal is accomplished for the campaign prior to the end of three years, the campaign funds raised after goal will then switch to 80 percent to the parish and 20 percent to the diocese. For each parish, those funds will go to meeting their own individual needs that their pastor and parish leadership will decide. “The Pastor Advisory Council knows and the Bishop recognizes that every parish has projects which have been on our to-do list for some time,” he said. “It is nice to rely on the campaign as a means to accomplish our diocesan goals and, at the same time, reinvigorate our parishes.”
Leaders On Board
The Bishop asked six lay couples to lead this historic effort. John and Arlene Bostick of St. Pius X in Ragley, Lance and Kelly Mudd of St. Patrick in Sweetlake, Deacon Harold and Sheryl Nixon of Our Lady Queen of Heaven and Sacred Heart of Jesus in Lake Charles, Joel and Lisa Oustalet of Our Lady Help of Christians in Jennings and Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Arthur, Jack and Mandy Robichaux of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles, and Judge Kent and Pat Savoie of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Carlyss. These General Chair couples will help recruit additional lay leadership needed and guide the campaign through the process of asking for gifts throughout the diocese.
Pastor Advisory Council
Nine pastors were appointed by Bishop Provost to a Pastor Advisory Council to assist him in the campaign, providing guidance, set campaign policies and procedures, determine goal allocations and be his primary source for advice during the effort.
Pastors named include Monsignor James Gaddy of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church as Chair; Father Aubrey Guilbeau of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (Sulphur); Father Pellerin of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church (Kinder): Monsignor Ronald Groth of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church (Lake Arthur); Monsignor Daniel Torres of St. Henry Catholic Church (Lake Charles) and Vicar General; Father Edward Richard, M.S., of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church (Sulphur); Father John Huckaby of St. Theodore Catholic Church (Moss Bluff); Father Alan Trouille of Our Lady of Seven Dolors Catholic Church (Welsh), and Father Timothy Goodly of St. Pius Catholic Church (Ragley).
Campaign Start Date in 2016
“Right now, we are focused on preparing for the campaign and everything related to doing that,” said Deacon Bertrand. “That includes getting communication material prepared, scheduling events and providing information about the goals to pastors and parish staff. We will do all of that first, before we begin to ask parishioners for gifts and pledges.” The parishes will run the campaign in 2016. The diocese will formally announce the start of the campaign and provide more details at that time.