We are embarking on the next phase of our campus masterplan with construction of our new school building. I am moved by the opportunity to serve as your pastor at such a pivotal time for our parish. I reflect on our rich history—the many lives that have been transformed by our church and school; the many hearts that have been opened to the Gospel; the community traditions and memories we share that make this place so special—and it foreshadows a promising future. For those of you that joined me in 2016 when we launched our first Building Virtues campaign, thank you for your foresight and long-term commitment to the future generations of Saint Thomas.
For those of you that are new to the STA family or were reluctant to join our previous campaign efforts, I welcome you to be a part of this important endeavor and ask for your participation, not just financially but in faith as well. I encourage every family, every parishioner, every student in our community to consider how you might make this an opportunity to grow in virtue and give of yourself sacrificially. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms (Peter 4:10).
The following pages outline what we seek to build for our shared future, as a faith community at the heart of a growing diocese. Our forefathers built this parish for us on faith, not knowing what the future held. They started the race well and the baton is now passed to us to provide for the needs of the Church, in this generation and for generations to come. It is our turn to pay it forward. Where this vision may seem daunting, I encourage you to have faith in what we can accomplish together, as Abraham did so long ago when he was called to go out to a new land and establish a new nation. Where it may seem impossible, I urge you to have hope and remember that God is with us. Where it may seem inconvenient or even hard to give, I believe you will encounter Christ when you do.
No gift is too small and likewise, to "whom much is given, much will be required" (Luke 12:48). I would like to see 100 percent participation from our community, not only financially but in prayer as well. It is transformative for our parish to come together focused on a common goal, and I pray that this campaign serves to unite us more deeply and for many years to come.
In All Things May Christ Be Glorified!
Since our founding in 1950, Saint Thomas has grown to include over 2,000 parish families and 550 students. Our parish continues to grow by an average of 200 families a year. With time and growth, our facilities have aged and our 1950's campus is struggling to meet the needs of an expanding parish and 21st century school.
Because of the existing configuration of our property, with the school taking up the majority of our 10-acre parcel, we are feeling the pinch of a growing parish which lacks a "parish center." Our lack of space limits our ability to accommodate growing ministries, youth groups, social gatherings, or larger receptions for baptisms, weddings and funerals.
Our school also has dire needs for revitalized facilities. Buildings are aging and the maintenance costs are becoming prohibitive. In the near future, we are facing the reality that any cash flow the parish and school have each year will be allocated to pay for repairs and deferred maintenance. The best use of our financial resources is to invest now in new construction that will take us long into the future. New construction also allows us to address lack-of-space issues we wrestle with as we try to grow 21st century learning programs. We lack appropriate classrooms for our differentiated learning programs and STEM, office space for admin and support services, and spaces for library, foreign language and the arts. We have also long-dreamed of a gym to house an ever-robust athletics program.
The solution to both issues of parish life and school are found when one solves for the other. By putting school construction first, we will be able to address the pressing issues the school currently faces AND reduce the school's foot- print in the process. This will create an incredible amount of space to then build a proper parish center and gymnasium.
Click photos to enlarge.
How much does the project cost?
The estimated construction cost for the Phase 1 New Classroom Building is $20 million.
When does construction start?
Our goal is to break ground in June 2024. We still need to raise $2 million this year to reach that goal. With the funds we already have plus what we raise this year, along with bank financing we will have enough to put a shovel in the ground and shell the new classroom building. From there, as we continue to fundraise, we can complete the building floor-by-floor.
How much have we raised?
In 2016, we launched our first Building Virtues campaign and redeemed $3.4 million. In 2019, we launched our second campaign along with the larger diocesan Together, Let Us Go Forth campaign. We received pledges of $3.04 million and are in the final stretch of redeeming the remaining pledges.
Our parish savings is very healthy and we have $4 million in cash available to dedicate to the project while still maintaining funds in our operational account.
The school Carnival and Auction together brought in a historic $400,000 net profit during the 2022-23 school year and all proceeds from these and other major fundraisers are dedicated to the construction fund for the new classroom building.
We have Letters of Intent from banks that will provide financing between $5-6 million.
What is the Building Virtues Construction Drive?
For those who have completed their pledges to our previous campaigns, those who did not participate in previous campaigns, and new families who were not yet parishioners by the time we had launched our previous campaigns, the Building Virtues Construction Drive is a way to participate and make your donations now. The fund is restricted for construction of the new classroom building and your donation is 100% tax deductible. You may pay by check to "Saint Thomas the Apostle" or through our Faith Direct portal, you can have funds automatically debited from your account or use a credit card. You can choose to make a one-time gift or sign up for recurring withdrawals weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. We also accept gifts of securities. If you have stocks or bonds you would like to donate, please contact Bri Cooney in the parish office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-368-5222 - office direct.
How much am I expected to give and for how long?
Your pledge is a very personal decision. This campaign is a unique opportunity for the church to continue as a vibrant place to worship. Ultimately, we ask that you consider making a sacrificial gift that is in addition to tithing.
Pledging to make a financial gift over time can be a great option if you would like to give more than a one-time gift allows. You can contribute to the Building Virtues Drive through Faith Direct with weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly recurring gifts. Visit the portal at membership.faithdirect.net/AZ87.
I already give to the parish. Why should I support the campaign?
The campaign supports a very special project and is separate from the regular Mass collections. The parish is grateful for all donations it receives throughout the year. Your generous weekly contributions are needed every week for regular operating expenses and are not designated for capital improvements or repairs. Ideally, the parish's ordinary income should be at least equal to its ordinary expenses (utilities, supplies, services, employee salary and benefits, insurance, etc.). Capital projects are considered extraordinary expenses that need additional funding.
How can I make my donation?
You can contribute to the Building Virtues Drive through Faith Direct with weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly recurring gifts. Visit the portal at: membership.faithdirect.net/AZ878. Your gift is deposited into a restricted account designated for construction of our new classroom building.
I'm not able to make a significant financial gift but want to contribute. What can I do?
Remember that no gift is too small and when small gifts come together they make a great impact. The majority of gifts the parish received from the first two campaigns were in the range of $1,000-$3,000 and raised over $6 million! Challenge your friends and family to match you. You may be able to double the impact of your gift with an employer matching contribution. Check with your human resources department to see if your employer qualifies.
Prayer is a meaningful way every person can contribute to our campaign. Please include the Memorare as part of your daily prayer, asking for God to richly bless our parish and school families and their businesses, so that we will have the faith and finances to complete this worthy project.