At Masses the weekend before Thanksgiving, western Oregon Catholics will view a video in which Archbishop Alexander Sample brings a close to the Year of Faith, introduces himself to Catholics who have not met him and thanks supporters for what they have done for the Church.
In the video, shot in St. Mary Cathedral, the archbishop says he has been encouraged by the welcome and inviting spirit. He also notes that the Year of Faith, which closes Nov. 24, has helped Christians discover new enthusiasm for the encounter with Christ. Archbishop Sample sounds themes of unity for the spread out diocese.
The message is punctuated by ideas in the New Evangelization: renewing conversion, professing faith fully, extending hospitality and increasing generosity of spirit. The Archbishop thanks Catholics for supporting ministry throughout the archdiocese, reminding them that they are a vital part of the Church.
"He feels he was welcomed warmly and this is setting the tone for the New Evangelization, which is partly about welcome," says Beth Schantzen, a development associate for the archdiocese's Office of Stewardship and Development.
With English and Spanish versions, the videos will be available at the archdiocese's website after they show at churches.
Also in production are videos explaining the upcoming Archbishop's Catholic Appeal, the annual collection that funds ministries in the region. The English version will focus on vocations and campus ministry while the Spanish appeal video takes up vocations and Hispanic ministry.
The 2013 appeal is coming to a close and to date more than $3.4 million has been committed and more than $2.8 million collected. This is on track with the 2012 campaign. With only a few months left in the year, development officials hope donors will continue to fulfill those commitments and ensure that the necessary resources are available to fund the vital programs and ministries supported for the campaign.
Archbishop Sample has shown early support for the 2014 project. He will be attending regional appeal training sessions in January and inviting all Catholics to a sense of stewardship.
Doug Tollefson, the archdiocese's director of resource development, says the goal is making sure Catholics not only give to need, but helping all the faithful to understand their inherent need to give. It's a shift in perspective that is based on creating a sense of belonging.
"It's really about relationships," Tollefson says. "We are trying to create a culture of philanthropy based on relationship building."
It begins with a relationship with God, then progresses to how parishes serve the world and those who have left the Catholic community, Schantzen adds.
The hope is that as parishes build community, more stewards will emerge and then the same small group will not bear burdens of ministry and giving.
Schantzen sees enthusiasm for stewardship in an up cycle now.
"It's not just financial," she says. "It is community building and civic engagement."
The capital campaign called "Sharing Our Faith, Shaping Our Future," launched by Archbishop John Vlazny, is still redeeming pledges and heading toward a close, says Tollefson. He hopes parishes and parishioners continue to fulfill the promises, which support ministries to the whole Catholic community. To date the campaign has received more than $31.7 million dollars in commitments, by far the most generous outpouring of support for a fundraising effort by the Catholic Church of western Oregon for its archdiocesan community.
Meanwhile, each six months parishes are receiving distributions from the capital campaign, using the money for facilities updates and strengthening of ministry. For each dollar raised at a parish, 25 cents went back for parish needs. As donors fulfill their campaign pledges, they are able to see immediate and significant impact locally.
Already more than $2.3 million dollars has been distributed to parishes from the capital campaign, proceeds that directly support local church ministry efforts.
Tollefson says the campaign was a moment when many Catholics were reminded that the Catholic Church is more than their parish, but also an archdiocese and a church in the world.