I have always been a cautious person, and I like to base my decisions on facts and data. While working at The Basilica however, I have learned that facts and data can only tell you so much. I have learned to trust faith and to never underestimate the strength and power of our community.
I started my internship with The Basilica in 2007, graduated college in 2008, then had a short career in corporate America before coming back to work at the Basilica in the spring of 2009. We were in the middle of the great recession and the months and years ahead would not be easy, but in those years I would see what is possible when this community comes together.
In the spring of 2009 we started what is now The Basilica Landmark Annual Fund. Emily, our Director of Development, set a goal of raising $30,000 that first year. Based on facts and data, I remember thinking that there was no way that we would even come close to meeting this goal. I am happy to admit I was wrong. That first year our community gave more than $60,000 and this past year you came together to raise more than $364,000 to support The Basilica Landmark’s mission to preserve and restore The Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.
The same was true of our financial stewardship campaigns during those years. I saw a community that while some needed to decrease or cancel their pledges, others increased to make up for it. And no one in the community took those decisions lightly. While other organizations suffered through double digit decreases, thanks to so many in our community we were able to hold steady at 1% down, trim our budget, and continue to provide the hallmark ministry and programs that The Basilica is known for.
The last two years we have ended our financial stewardship campaign 1% down from our budgeted goal of $2.3 million dollars and the current 2017 pledge campaign is also running behind. The data might lead some to believe that this would be a trend but I have learned to never underestimate our community. I know that when our community is given a goal, we rarely miss it.
If you have already made your 2017 financial stewardship pledge, thank you! If you have not I hope you will consider a 2017 pledge today, because when our community comes together so much is possible!
In this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has explained it this way: “a little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” At The Basilica, financial stewardship is much the same.
When you make a financial stewardship pledge to The Basilica, your gifts support not just the “less cold” of heat and lights, but also helps our parish shine in the community with our signature warm welcome and illuminating worship.
Stewardship also creates the “more just” in our community by funding ministries that help the unemployed, the grieving, the homebound, those dealing with mental illness, and those who simply need a caring, listening ear.
With stewardship, as with mercy, a little bit goes a long way. Please prayerfully consider giving thanks for your blessings by making your 2017 financial stewardship pledge today.
You can pledge online at mary.org, fill out a pledge form and mail it in, or bring it to mass next weekend. You may also contact Stephanie Bielmas for answers to any questions you may have about supporting The Basilica.