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Bishop John M. D’Arcy met with the media in Fort Wayne at a news conference held at The Cathedral Center on Friday, February 4, 2005. Reporting on the Legacy of Faith drive, Bishop D’Arcy announced that a year and a half ago the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend set a goal of $40 million. Today more than $48.5 million had already been pledged.

The Bishop attributed this success “to how much the Catholic faith means to the people.” “It would not be possible,” he went on to say, “without our priests and their trusting relationship within their parishes. It has been a beautiful experience.”

“The money is not for the diocese,” repeated D’Arcy. This fund-raising effort by the 84 parishes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is to enhance the salaries of teachers in Catholic schools and support those students who do not attend Catholic schools but do attend religious education programs. D’Arcy said $20 million will go to elementary schools, $1 million to high schools and $2 million will be for religious education within the parishes that don’t have schools. The remainder of the funds ($17 million) will be divided among Catholic charities, priest retirement, the annual bishop’s appeal fund, growth of Hispanic ministries, and strengthening individual parishes.

“It is for strengthening our Catholic schools and parishes.” Twenty percent of the funds collected in each parish will be given back to each parish. Those parishes will, after reaching their goal, be able to keep 60 percent of the over-and-above monies for their own parish funds.

Julie Hanchar helped spearhead the fund-raising at St. Therese Catholic Church on Lower Huntington Road in Waynedale. She commented on the parishioners’ response to the challenge of raising $550,541. “We really did not expect to reach our goal, especially after just completing a new parish. But through faith we are currently at 112%.” More than $614,930 was pledged.

St. Therese plans on using their additional monies for school renovation and to help pay off the debt for the building fund.

In addition, other area churches have already identified a use with a similar campaign incorporating the “Legacy of Faith.” St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Fairfield Avenue is planning major restorations within the church and St. Joe-St. Elizabeth School on Brooklyn Avenue will be enhancing school classrooms.

“This is not a quick fix,” stated the Bishop, “these are pledges with payments to extend over five years.” Over 21,000 families contributed to the “Legacy of Faith” and $8.3 million is in.

The “Legacy of Faith” campaign shows just how much Catholics love their faith, their parish and its future.

The Waynedale News Staff
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