MPB Capital Campaign Update | August 21, 2016
Over a year ago we completed our feasibility study for our new parish center and the response was overwhelmingly supportive. After a year of red tape and approval processes, we are happy to announce that we have engaged the fund raising services of the Steier Group and have begun in earnest the active financial campaign stage. To this end we welcome Cat Koehler (from Steier) who will be our “boots on the ground” coordinator as we begin the process of raising money to raise our new parish center.
I have been reflecting a lot lately, given the tasks ahead, on how we belong to, commit to and experience ownership in a parish. It is very common for Catholics (more than many denominations and faith groups) to speak of “attending” rather than “belonging.” It is common to hear someone say, “I go to MPB,” or “I go to the Cathedral.” We don’t often think of “belonging” to a parish. We aren’t very likely to respond, “I’m a member at …”, when referring to our parish community.
And, in fact, it is sometimes a bit of a task to get people to register where they attend. Most of us grew up going to church every week. We may have been told quite clearly by parents that we were Catholic but not that we were members of Notre Dame or Sacred Heart. Membership in our parish communities is not always the learned Catholic response.
Similarly, our support of our parish mimics childhood memories rather than coming forth from our adult spiritual faith. We throw a couple bucks in when the basket comes around, because that is what grandma used to do. Most of us really don’t put a lot of thought into “financially committing to my parish.” In the last year or so, while our numbers have increased, our giving has remained roughly the same. As a pastor, I often seriously wonder whether or not my being here is healthy for the community. Being able to increase the population without increasing the assets with which we are able to minister to that population, actually harms the health of the parish.
If a community increases by ten percent, but staff must stay the same (and budgets stretched simply to afford cost of living raises) and minister to more, then I have to wonder if my being pastor has become a burden to the infrastructure of a good parish. And in the midst of all of this we have a building project!
While I have had concerns, I have also begun to wonder if this project might serve more than one function. While we are focused on the need for this new center (which I will write more about in future communiques) I am reminded of an old Amish tradition regarding the raising of barns. When a young couple is married, the community often makes a “gift” to the new couple of coming together to build their barn/house. This is both an expression of the community’s commitment to this new couple and an expression of each member’s commitment to the community.
The barn-raiser actually serves to remind the community, on a regular basis, that we don’t simply attend a community, we must build it, maintain it and ensure that it is here for our children. As we begin our center-raiser together, I hope it becomes a deeper reflection on our Church and our culture and our place in each. So many of our grandparents and great-grandparents built schools, hospitals and churches that we have spent our lives utilizing and attending. Perhaps this moment is a great chance for us to contribute to the future as so many have done in previous generations.
The Amish raising of a barn invites each member of the parish to become a founding member, to experience ownership in and responsibility for community and its future. This project at MPB is offering us a moment to look to see how we are part of a continual sustenance of our faith. This is not simply a faith handed down to us, but something we actively work to hand down to our children’s children and beyond.
Christian faith matures only out of sacrifice. Our generation may not (hopefully) be called to the martyrdom of the early Church or turmoil of the dark ages, but we are still called to sacrifice. In the year ahead, we will, in one sense, measure our willingness to redirect energies and assets in an effort to leave for our parish and our children, a gift of faith, and witness to hope and an example of charity. We will also reestablish ourselves as a community committed to one another and to the mission of Christ in our culture.
– Fr. Pat
My name is Cat Koehler (yes, it is spelled and pronounced the same as Father Ken Koehler, although there is no relation). I am a campaign manager with the Steier Group, a firm that provides professional development services to Catholic Dioceses, parishes and schools to help them reach their fundraising goals. I am working full-time and have a group of dedicated grant writers, designers, and other development professionals to support Most Precious Blood’s efforts to build the new parish center.
I live in Omaha, Nebraska with my husband Daniel and our two children, Donovan (7) and Adley (14). Each Tuesday morning, I get up well before the sun and board a flight to Denver. Thursday evenings I return home to Omaha. Donovan and Adley love this day because they get to stay up late to wait for my return home. My husband Daniel also loves Thursdays because herding children solo is not an easy task. Our family doesn’t have a traditional schedule by any means, but Daniel is an awesome dad, and technology means I can help with homework or read a bedtime story wherever I may be traveling.
Being away from home is much easier when I am working with great people for such a wonderful cause. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the fantastic people at Most Precious Blood. In my first few weeks here, I have been overwhelmed with the graciousness and spirit of everyone I have met. I have been busy behind the scenes working with the staff to prepare for a successful capital campaign, and I am excited to bring you all into this great project.
In the coming weeks, we will begin forming a team of parishioners who will actively work as volunteers to help us reach our goals. I want to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who has already offered their time, talent and treasure to this important effort. There will be opportunities for every parish family to be stewards as we work toward the common goal of increasing Most Precious Blood’s capacity to gather, to give, and to grow in faith. I encourage you to begin praying about what your stewardship to the capital campaign may look like.
This is an exciting time for the Most Precious Blood community to look toward the future, and I am excited to be a part of it. I hope you are as well.
– Cat Koehler
Town Hall Suggestions
We had Town Hall Meetings on June 29th & 30th with over 160 people in attendance Here are a top suggestions for the new building:
- There must be a kitchen that provides hospitality and service for a wide variety of events
- It’s important that the new facility have large and small meeting rooms that are outfitted with latest technology and sound.
- Energy efficient and Environmentally friendly.
- Online survey asking for opinions and comments on new parish hall went to ELC, School, and Faith Formation Families
- Fr. Pat is beginning to build the fundraising and building committees
- The fundraiser will be on campus early August
- A page will be added to our website where parishioners can see updates on the project
- A list of all suggestions from the Town Hall Meetings and Survey will be posted on website soon as it is up