St. Anthony in Danbury celebrates after reaching parish IGNITE goal

February 26, 2019

Parishioners at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Danbury gather to celebrate raising 103 percent of their IGNITE: “Our Faith, Our Mission” Capital Campaign goal in the parish hall on Jan. 29 in Danbury. photo courtesy of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church - Danbury.

DANBURY — St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Danbury celebrated Jan. 29 after parish officials said the “little parish with a big heart” met and exceeded their IGNITE goal. 

The parish, whose history began more than 100 years ago, embraced its role in the $150 million IGNITE: “Our Faith, Our Mission” Capital Campaign. Currently, St. Anthony has raised 103 percent of the goal with pledges still being made. 

Deacon Gerald Peltier credits the giving nature and community spirit of the parish. 

“We have a very giving parish,” he said. “When we set our needs in front of them they always come through. People here are very generous.” 

More than simply generous, St. Anthony also benefits from their community spirit and high level of parish involvement. Their IGNITE receptions were extremely well attended, according to parish officials. Parishioners Monica Sebesta and Anne Starr worked to ensure a welcoming and hospitable reception. This reception turnout allowed the IGNITE message to spread easily through the parish community. 

Parishioner Ken Piper said the reception helped him to join the campaign. 

The reception “did such a great job explaining it all that it made it so easy to decide to give,” he said.

Deacon Peltier said he “was amazed at the fact that we could do the campaign as a good faith effort. That the presentation was made that way to put everyone at ease so they could look inward to what they could give.”

Some of the 27 percent of the parish that had already made their pledge admitted to some hesitation at first. 

“I didn’t know how we were going to raise this money in our parish,” said Jan Saman, parish bookkeeper. “But the generosity has been amazing. And the process is easy.” 

Some parishioners were decidedly skeptical at first but were quickly won over by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo’s video message. 

“When I came to the first meeting I fully intended to come home and never go back,” said parishioner Linda Piper. “But the video ... won us over.”

What’s next for St. Anthony? As of press time, the parish has received almost $15,000 back from their IGNITE contributions. Plans for the funds include immediately upgrading the church’s electric system as well as painting and flooring. Other improvements are refinishing or replacing the church front doors and enhancing the Stations of the Cross. With the help of their IGNITE funds, it will happen.

IGNITE relaunched last fall and at the conclusion of the pledge redemption for parishes, provided the IGNITE Campaign goal is reached, $50 million is anticipated to be returned to parishes for local needs. In the end, these investments will enable parishes to better proclaim to parish families the teachings of Christ and the mission of the Church.

In the IGNITE campaign, a third of the funds collected in each parish will return to the parish on a quarterly basis while 67 percent is designated for the five Archdiocesan case elements of IGNITE: St. Mary’s Seminary ($30 million); Catholic education ($20 million); faith formation ($10 million); Disaster Recovery Fund ($20 million); and rebuilding our parishes and schools in Light of Harvey ($20 million).

For more information about IGNITE: “Our Faith, Our Mission,” visit