April 4, 2014
Bishop Patrick J. Zurek is launching a Diocesan-wide capital campaign entitled Preparing the Way.
The goal of the campaign is to raise a minimum of $13 million, according to Martin Camacho, executive director of CCS Fundraising.
Six million dollars from the campaign will be used to build a new Diocesan Pastoral Center to replace the existing building, which was built in 1953. Other monies from the campaign will be used for:
• Completing renovations to the Bishop DeFalco Retreat Center ($1 million);
• Building permanent offices and classrooms for Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle ($1 million); and,
• Seminary education, on-going formation and education of priests and to build a Center House for Priests, a place for priests to use when they are in Amarillo. The facility can also be used by retired priests needing a place to live.
The Diocese of Amarillo has secured the services of CCS, an international fundraising management and consulting firm with more than 65 years of experience working with the Catholic Church. Martin Camacho and Ken Jones of CCS will be in Amarillo for the remainder of the year working with parishes. They will be joined by a third campaign director later this year.
“The Diocesan Pastoral Center was built in 1953,” said Bishop Zurek, “and the building’s foundation is settling, which has caused large cracks to appear throughout the building. Over the years, more than one attempt has been made to rectify the situation, but nothing has worked. The building is not handicap accessible and lacks an elevator, making it difficult for some visitors. The building has served the diocese well for more than 60 years, but the time has come to move on.
“Further, the Catholic population in the Diocese of Amarillo is growing. We must act now to prepare to meet the growing demand for ministries and services. For example, many people are unaware that Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle pays $5,000 in rent each month. In addition, the agency relies on Protestant churches to loan them classrooms for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.”
One of the main goals of the Preparing the Way campaign is to help parishes, according to Camacho.
“The parish is where the Catholic lives,” he said. “We need to build strong parish communities. With that in mind, 20% (or $2.4 million) of every dollar raised up to goal will remain with the parish. An additional five percent (or $600,000) of all funds will be made available to small parishes to assist with their needs. Parishes that exceed their goals will receive 50 to 75% of all funds raised above their goal.”
As of March 28, more than $3.8 million in pledges have been raised, according to Camacho. Four parishes participated in the Pilot Parish phase of the campaign, with those parishes exceeding their combined goals by 55%.
“Fourteen parishes are currently running the campaign as part of Bloc 1 of the campaign,” he said. “The remaining parishes will launch the campaign next fall in Bloc 2 of the campaign.
“Bishop Zurek likes to talk about the rich history of this region. He has often stated how impressed he is by the beautiful and well-kept churches in the diocese, some that date back 100 years. The churches were built through the sacrifice of those who came before us. Now, it is our turn to lay the foundation for future generations of Catholics.”
More information on the Preparing the Way campaign and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Preparing the Way website, www.amarillodiocese.org/ptw.