As we embark on Saint Thomas the Apostle's 70th anniversary in 2020, 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. As we kick off the next step in our campaign and "Continue Our Mission", 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 campaign 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!
Read more about Our Vision for the Future.
Since our founding in 1950, Saint Thomas has grown to include over 1,800 parish families and 560 students. We now stand at the heart of Phoenix which has grown 14 times larger than when we began building 70 years ago, and our parish continues to grow by an average of 240 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.
Learn more about the Diocesan Together Let Us Go Forth Campaign
Why a combined campaign?
Our parish was scheduled to participate in December 2019 in the Together Let Us Go Forth/Juntos Sigamos Adelante Campaign to strengthen discipleship and evangelization in the Diocese of Phoenix. Our parish leadership decided to use the timing of this to combine our campaign efforts, supporting both our parish and the Catholic community-at-large.
How much am I expected to give?
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.
How long will I have to meet my pledge?
Making a pledge as opposed to a one-time gift allows you to make a larger gift to this campaign over a designated period of time. We are asking parishioners to fulfill their pledges over a five-year period.
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 is the CDA different than this campaign? Why is it important to participate in both?
The CDA generates funds for the day to day operations of diocesan ministries and apostolates, whereas the Campaign will raise funds for extraordinary needs of all 117 parishes, 30+ Catholic schools, Newman Centers, Seminarians and more. It is important to support both because over 70 apostolates and ministries help the Catholic Church have a strong presence in the community. However, there are additional substantial needs that the CDA cannot support financially, yet are essential to help our parishes and schools with strategic growth and sustainability. Is my gift tax deductible? Yes. The amount contributed is deductible to the full extent provided by the law.
How can I make my pledge?
Pledge cards will be distributed at two In-Pew Commitment Weekends on January 11/12 and January 25/26. If you would like to make your pledge before then, please contact Bri Cooney at the parish office by calling (602) 368-5222 (direct) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed pledge cards can be mailed or dropped off in person to the parish office. You may also drop them in collection baskets during Mass.
How is Pledge Redemption being handled with this combined campaign?
The Diocese of Phoenix is managing pledge redemption for the Building Virtues/Together Let Us Go Forth combined campaign. Pledge cards are turned into the parish where they are reviewed by Father Steve and processed for transmittal to the Diocese. The Diocese reaches out to each donor acknowledging your pledge and coordinating your payment method and payment reminders. Your pledge and payments are credited to Saint Thomas the Apostle. The Diocese disburses funds to our parish quarterly.
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. Prayer is a meaningful way every person can contribute to our campaign.