Capital campaign gets the green light
March 18, 2021
Bishop William Joensen has approved a proposed capital campaign after research showed 72 percent of those polled would be willing to support one.
The project won’t begin in parishes, though, until the Diocese of Des Moines nears the end of the pandemic and the faithful an gather for celebration of the Eucharist without some of the restrictions currently in place.
The Steier Group, a Catholic fundraising and development firm in Omaha, Nebraska, spent three months last fall getting feedback from more than 1,200 Catholics participating via personal interviews, mail and online surveys.
Potential campaign goals tested included establishment of an endowment to provide more financial aid to Catholic school families, additional funding for the Diocese’s growing number of seminarians, priest retirement, and faith formation, as well as support for local parish needs. The Steier Group reported its findings to Bishop William Joensen and key groups of diocesan leadership in late November, 2020.
After many weeks of discernment, and in consultation with pastors and other diocesan leaders, Bishop Joensen gave approval to move forward with the campaign.
In a recent letter to study participants, he shared: “Having taken to heart all the constructive comments and suggestions generated during this study, I have prayerfully discerned that we will move forward with a diocesan-wide capital campaign to enhance and strategically impact Catholic education, evangelization, priest retirement and seminarian education in our local Church.”
Although the results of the study were positive, many respondents voiced their concern about the campaign in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am keenly aware of the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to parishes and households,” Bishop Joensen said in his letter to participants. “Through the first half of 2021, we will focus solely on the ‘preparation/silent’ phase of the campaign. I am committed in my position that parish-level campaign participation will not begin until we can regather to celebrate the Eucharist without some of the restrictions presently in place. We will continue to monitor our situation and adjust our campaign timeline accordingly.”
The preparation phase of the campaign began in mid-January. The Stewardship Office, in concert with the Steier Group and several clergy and lay leaders, is in the process of assembling a campaign leadership team with representation across the Diocese.
The first step was the formation of a Clergy Committee. Led by co-chairs Father Dan Kirby and Father Joe Pins and comprised of pastors from every region in the diocese, the Clergy Committee will be working over the next few months to determine and finalize policies and procedures for the campaign. Their hard work and due diligence will result in recommendations for Bishop Joensen to review and approve. Many questions, such as those surrounding goals, as well as how and when parishes will be asked to participate, will be answered in the next several months.
iBishop summarized his letter to participants with the following: “This is an opportunity for those to whom we minister and ourselves to realize the abundant life, mercy, strength, hope and love of Jesus Christ. My prayer follows that of St. Paul: ‘We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Thes. 1:11-12).”
Watch for updates on the diocesan website dmdiocese.org, in The Catholic Mirror, and via social media, in the weeks and months to come.