Salina — A rosary prayer garden. A church steeple. Lighting improvements in the church. Creating meeting rooms and a parish hall in the church basement. Even everyday operations of a parish or school. All are projects and needs that parishes throughout the Salina Diocese hope to address as the diocese participates in its first #iGiveCatholic campaign on #GivingTuesday. This year, #GivingTuesday is Nov. 27. #iGiveCatholic is a national online giving day, with the goal of rallying the Catholic community to support the organizations that shape our souls: our parishes, schools ministries and not-for-profit organizations. The minimum donation is $25.
“The goal of #iGiveCatholic is to help parishes, schools and organizations raise money for the big and small projects essential for them,” said Beth Shearer, Director of Stewardship and Development for the Salina Diocese. “Due to the nature of an online giving platform, we anticipate this will capture interest of not only those who sit in the pew every weekend, but also those who grew up in a parish, perhaps celebrated their sacraments in that parish, and have now moved away from their rural community. #iGiveCatholic is an opportunity for those people to play an active role in supporting the future of their hometown parish or Catholic school.” One highlight of the Nov. 27 giving day is a $50,000 match for all donations across the diocese. It will be available as long as it lasts. An anonymous donor donated money that will be matched “dollar for dollar” up to $1,000 per donor. “This is an excellent opportunity for donations to stretch even farther,” Shearer said.
Among the parishes raising money on #GivingTuesday is Sacred Heart in Atwood. A crumbling, unused Catholic school building was demolished “due to its damage beyond repair,” pastor Father Gnanasekar Kulandai, HGN, said. “In its location, we are planning to erect a Prayer Garden,” he continued. “The Prayer Garden will have a grotto of our blessed mother, a statue of Sacred Heart of Jesus, tablets of The 10 Commandments, Beatitudes, gazebo, benches, marble stones with mysteries of the holy rosary, green grass with sprinkler system, tomb stone for the unborn, walking paths, landscaping with plants, trees, and shrubs and fence around the garden.” The cost for this large-scale project is about $85,000. “Any donation towards this cause would help this noble dream come true,” Father Kulandai said.
The cluster of parishes in Aurora, Clifton and Clyde also have plans to mobilize supporters on #GivingTuesday. St. Peter Parish in Aurora hopes to raise $15,000 to assist with religious education, emergency equipment, roof repairs and interior painting. “The estimate for the roof repairs will be about $10,000,” the church’s #iGiveCatholic page states. “The Knights have been busy repairing what they can and will do the inside work of the sacristies once the new Duro-Last roofs are put on.” Once the roof is repaired, the intention is to paint the church interior — a job that will cost about $15,000. “The last two Christmas collections have been designated for the interior painting and the roof project,” the church’s page continues. “About half of the money for the projects has been received through the generous collections of parishioners and organizations.” St. Mary Parish in Clifton’s goal for #iGiveCatholic is to help fund a major steeple and roof repair, following a hail storm a few years ago. The project will cost about $33,000, and the church will “need some extensive work done on the interior once the leaks and roof is repaired.” Additionally, the parish is raising money to assist with youth programs. “They are the future of our parish and many come back to live in their home town after college,” the St. Mary Parish page states. “They choose to live here and participate in church and community and raise their families here. They need our help and support to continue their journey of faith.” Another area for improvement is the church basement.“The parish does not have internet access nor does it have camera/projection capabilities to the basement,” the page said. “When overflow becomes necessary, parishioners and community have to sit in the basement without a visual connection to the liturgy.”
Similarly, St. John the Baptist Church in Clyde faces struggles with the steeple. Continued leaks cause both internal and external problems for the church. “We need your help,” the parish #iGiveCatholic page states. “Maybe you got married here or baptized your children here…. Possibly you are a graduate of Clyde High or Clifton-Clyde High and wish to see your small home town continue to flourish. Whatever your tie to our small community may be, we welcome you to join forces with us and help us prosper!”
St. Agnes Parish in Grainfield also has interior repair needs. Yet the money raised is not solely for the structure. The parish includes basic options, such as $25 donation to help pay for missalettes and other liturgical publications. Additionally, a $50 donation would assist with internet access for PSR classes. Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Grinnell also offers the option to donate $50 to support religious education classes. The page also includes donations for basic church needs, such as sanctuary supplies, including the hosts and wine for Communion.
Safety devices are on many parish lists, including Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays. The parish hopes to raise money for two Automatic External Defibrillators (AED’s). Another goal is to raise money for the Emergency Assistance Funds, which help families in need. Yet IHM has a few larger-scale items on the horizon, too. Msgr. Barry Brinkman, pastor, said lighting improvements and completing the unfinished basement are goals. “The basement of the church was left unfinished,” he said. “We’re expanding and finishing some of the items we originally wanted, but due to budge constraints, were not part of the initial building project because we did not want to over-extend ourselves.” Msgr. Brinkman said additional light fixtures in the church will assist during the darker, winter months and for evening events. “The church is already wired for the additional lighting,” he said. “We just need to purchase and add the overhead fixtures.”
Participants also include schools and other religious-based organizations throughout the diocese. Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, which has offices in Manhattan, Salina and Hays, offers several options of support, including $27, which would pay for one month’s worth of diapers and wipes for a child; $90 to keep utilities connected for a family; or $150 to help a family avoid eviction from their home. Divine Mercy Radio in Hays offers donors the option to assist with legal license fees for one month ($300), pay rent on the station for one month ($600) or assist with utilities for one month ($1,000).
Schools are also utilizing #iGiveCatholic. Troy Ruda, advancement director at Thomas More Prep-Marian Jr./Sr. High School and Holy Family Elementary School in Hays said the schools are raising money for the St. Thomas More Society. The annual campaign helps pay for the basic operating expenses of the schools.