Catholic diocese raises $42.2M to support its work in Maine

Posted June 23, 2010, at 2 p.m.
Bishop Richard Malone (AP Photo/Joel Page)
AP
Bishop Richard Malone (AP Photo/Joel Page)

PORTLAND, Maine — The spiritual leader of Maine’s 188,000 Roman Catholics announced Wednesday that diocese’s capital campaign has exceeded its $40 million goal by $2.2 million.

“It is heartwarming and, frankly, amazing to me that in these difficult economic times we could reach such a total,” Bishop Richard Malone said at a press conference. “This campaign has demonstrated that people support the church even in, and maybe especially in, hard times. I am deeply grateful and humbled by the commitment and generosity of the Catholic faithful in Maine.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland also announced that its capital campaign, “Strengthening the Heartbeat of the Church,” which launched at the beginning of the year, would conclude officially on Wednesday, June 30.

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The donations will provide the firm foundation needed to support the work of the church throughout the state in the years ahead, Malone said. The money will fund immediate and long-term parish improvements and programs, and support vocations, Catholic Charities Maine, Catholic schools and lifelong faith formation, according to a press release issued by the diocese.

Sixty percent of the funds will be held in endowments and invested in a range of professionally managed, separate portfolios. One-quarter of the funds raised, or $10 million, will go to local parish endowments, Malone said Wednesday.

St. Paul the Apostle Parish, which includes Catholic churches in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Winterport, anticipated in January that its share of the money would total nearly $3 million, according to a letter to parishioners signed by the Rev. Timothy Nadeau, parish pastor. Initial plans called for the money to be invested in keeping the six churches, two schools and nine other buildings maintained and in good condition. Money also would be used to maintain Mount Pleasant Cemetery and invest in ministry for children and the elderly.

“The success of this campaign shows us that Catholics prioritize the mission of the church and that they want to be part of the vitality and effectiveness of the Catholic community now and in the future,” Malone said Wednesday.

The $42.2 million includes 8,886 separate gifts, Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the diocese, announced in a press release issued after the press conference. The average pledge totaled $4,793, and the majority of them will paid to the diocese over a five-year period beginning this year. About 32 percent of active Catholic households pledged to the campaign, she said.

The Catholic Foundation of Maine, and incorporated nonprofit distinct from the diocese, will manage the donations. The foundation’s board of trustees is made up primarily of lay people, according to Bernard.

The last diocesewide capital campaign was conducted 40 years ago, according to Bernard. The foundation was created by Malone’s predecessor, Bishop Joseph Gerry.

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Approximate allocations of Strengthening the Heartbeat of the Church funds

• Parishes: $10 million

• Lifelong faith formation: $6.9 million

• Vocations, priest formation, retirement fund: $6.8 million

• Catholic schools tuition scholarships: $5.96 million

• Catholic Charities Maine: $5.96 million

• Diocesan Foundation and Office of Development: $1.7 million

Campaign expenses: $3.2 million

Source: Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

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