Archdiocese ready to ‘IGNITE: Our Faith, Our Mission’ to provide a legacy of faith

March 14, 2017

HOUSTON — In 2015, a planning study was conducted in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to assess the aging facilities of St. Mary’s Seminary and identity challenges facing our Catholic Schools and Faith Formation. After reviewing the study and following consultation with local pastors and Archdiocesan leadership, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo decided to initiate a major capital campaign titled “IGNITE: Our Faith, Our Mission” to raise $150 million to address these needs.

During the IGNITE campaign, Guidance In Giving (GiG) Inc., a Catholic stewardship and development firm, will serve as fundraising counsel to the Archdiocese. In the year 2000, GiG collaborated with then-Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza and the Diocese of Galveston-Houston for the Jubilee Year capital campaign. Since then, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, under the leadership of both Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza and Cardinal DiNardo, has seen unprecedented growth.

“I have the utmost confidence in the campaign plan and in the (GiG) directors that will be working with the parishes,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “By combining the pastors’ knowledge of their respective parishes with Guidance in Giving’s knowledge of effective fundraising, I know IGNITE will have an enormous impact on the future of our faith.”
The campaign consists of four major elements: Individual Parish Needs, Faith Formation, Catholic School Education and St. Mary Seminary.

Individual Parish Needs — $50 million
Every parish within the Archdiocese has its own needs, unique challenges and goals. Some parishes may require new construction or building renovations while others may need to reduce debt or establish endowments for parish and school staff. In the end, these investments will enable parishes to better proclaim to parish families the teachings of Christ and the mission of the Church.

A financial return to each parish has been incorporated into this campaign. As the parish raises monies to reach their goal, 33 percent of the funds collected will be returned to the parish while 67 percent is designated for the Archdiocese case elements.

Once the goal is reached, the parish collects funds over goal; 67 percent is returned to the parish and 33 percent to the Archdiocesan case elements. At the conclusion of pledge redemption, provided the IGNITE Campaign goal is reached, it is anticipated that $50 million will be returned to parishes for local needs.

Faith Formation Endowment Funds — $20 million
The new Faith Formation Endowment Fund will provide grants to parishes to aid in their religious education, faith formation and evangelization efforts. The Archdiocese wants to ensure that parishes have access to the best training for lay leaders, catechetical leaders and volunteers.

“Some of our smaller parishes with fewer resources do not have someone with the expertise necessary to assist the pastor with developing parishioners in the faith,” James Barrette, secretariat director for Pastoral and Educational Ministries for the Archdiocese, said. “An endowment could assist groups of parishes in possibly sharing a full time catechetical leader with the appropriate training; it would be such a blessing.”

Catechetical leaders in parishes will be given an opportunity to pursue a degree or certification in theology or catechetics. Providing scholarship funds to address this need would encourage potential catechetical leaders to become qualified professional ministry leaders needed to serve in our parishes.

“Helping our veteran catechist volunteers or young people interested in lay ministry get the training and formation they need to work in our parishes is a critical need for the evangelization and catechesis of parishioners of all ages,” Barrette said.

Catholic School Education Endowments — $40 million
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston considers Catholic schools vitally important to the future since these schools produce much of the lay leadership as well as vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Parents today cite high-performing schools as their number one reason for choosing Catholic Schools. Within the Catholic Education piece of this campaign the first area of support will be Tuition Assistance. The earnings from these funds will be available to help defray the costs of tuition for financially deserving children.

Teaching our faith to our children is the primary reason we have Catholic schools. All who work in schools must be able to lead, learn and proclaim the Gospel. Continuous adult faith formation and pedagogy for educators is necessary to ensure the teachings of the Church are being delivered and modeled by all adults surrounding our children every day. Additionally, we must ensure our teachers have the continuing education and development opportunities to meet the growing challenges and opportunities they face. The IGNITE campaign will establish an endowment fund to help meet these needs.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Galveston-Houston community and are hopeful that donors to the IGNITE campaign will help us to achieve our goals in the areas of evangelization, excellence and enrollment,” Dr. Julie Vogel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese, said.

St. Mary’s Seminary — $40 million

For more than 100 years, St. Mary’s Seminary has provided a vitally important ministry by helping thousands of men answer their call to the priesthood and ultimately enabling these young men to follow in the steps of the first disciples. In addition, St. Mary’s Seminary is home to the Archdiocese’s Diaconate formation program and hosts the University of St. Thomas School of Theology, which serves the seminarians and the greater community at large.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, there are 90 seminarians studying at St. Mary’s Seminary including 31 from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 

A site-development plan has been designed that proposes a new dormitory building. The design will be such that the existing quadrangle courtyard is preserved and enhanced, and the architectural theme of the new construction will replicate those of the existing campus buildings. 

“St. Mary’s Seminary has beautiful but aging facilities, and the proceeds from the capital campaign will benefit us directly by providing a new dormitory for our ever-increasing number of seminarians, and will improve the infrastructure and living conditions of our community tremendously,” Father Trung Nguyen, St. Mary’s Seminary rector, said.

Providing a Lasting Legacy of Faith

A successful campaign will allow each of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to “join our gifts with those who made the parishes and programs of this Archdiocese a reality in years past and will ensure that we remain a strong, vibrant and faithful Church in the years to come,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

“We know that our greatest strength is our Catholic faith and the faith of our people. This campaign is centered primarily on the spiritual growth and development of our people’s faith. We are relying on your generosity to create a legacy for this generation—a legacy of faith that will pass on to those who will cherish and take it into a new time, gratefully adding their own gifts to what you have so generously given.”


Campaign Timeline

Block 1: January-June 2017

Block 2: July-December 2017

Block 3: January-June 2018

Block 4: July-December 2018


Block 1 Parishes
The active phases of the IGNITE: Our Faith, Our Mission campaign will run from January 2017 through December 2018. Each parish will conduct its campaign in one of four blocks within that timeframe. Listed below are the current parishes confirmed for Block 1.

Our Lady of Grace - South Houston
— Father Jesus M. Martinez
St. Gregory the Great - Houston
— Father Francis Huan Ton Ngo
Holy Name - Houston
— Father Anil Thomas, S.V.D.
Blessed Sacrament - Houston
— Father Rodolfo Sanchez
Our Lady of St. John - Houston
— Father Edwin A. Coreas
Sacred Heart - Crosby
— Father Gary A. Rickles
St. Patrick - Houston
— Father Thomas E. Hawxhurst
St. Katharine Drexel - Hempstead
— Father David G. Harris
St. Mary of the Miraculous Medal - Texas City — Father Clint C. Ressler
St. John the Baptist - Alvin
— Father John K. Taosan
St. James the Apostle - Spring
— Father Charles J. Samperi
St. Frances Cabrini - Houston
— Father Frank T. Fabj
Sacred Heart of Jesus - Manvel
— Father Thomas V. Ponzini
St. Michael the Archangel - Lake Jackson
— Monsignor Leo Wleczyk
St. Theresa - Houston
— Father Philip P. Lloyd
Holy Rosary - Houston
— Father Christopher Eggleton, O.P.
Holy Family - Galveston
— Father John Stein, O.F.M.
St. Luke the Evangelist - Houston
— Father Douglas J. Guthrie


Priest Advisory Council

This group of priests representing all areas of the Archdiocese will serve as a consultative body during IGNITE concerning matters pertaining to parish implementation of the campaign plan, procedure and protocol.

Monsignor William L. Young, III - Chair
— St. Vincent de Paul, Houston
Father Thu N. Nguyen
— Christ The Incarnate Word, Houston
Father Sean P. Horrigan
— Christ the Redeemer, Houston
Father John Stein, O.F.M.
— Holy Family, Galveston
Father John T. Keller
— Prince of Peace, Houston
Father Thomas V. Ponzini
— Sacred Heart of Jesus, Manvel
Father Thomas F. Rafferty
— St. Anthony of Padua, The Woodlands
Father Miguel A. Solorzano
— St. Charles Borromeo, Houston
Father Manuel A. La Rosa-Lopez
— St. John Fisher, Richmond
Father Edmund P. Eduarte
— St. Joseph, Baytown
Father Gerald G. Goodrum
— St. Juan Diego, Pasadena
Father David G. Harris
— St. Katharine Drexel, Hempstead
Father Monsignor Chester L. Borski
— St. Martha, Porter
Father Clint C. Ressler
— St. Mary of the Miraculous Medal, Texas City
Father John Rooney
— St. Mary Seminary