Thank you! With your help, our “commitment weekend” was a great success, raising $224,970 in pledges at our 5 parish Masses. This means we have reached our goal! As of 11/23/20, we have received a total of $1,164,700 in pledges from 128 of our parish families, representing 102% of our goal of $1.15 million. If you would like to participate in the We Stand With Christ campaign and support our local parish projects as well as the three new Foundations, there is information below about how you can help.
We Stand With Christ is the capital campaign initiated by Bishop Frank Caggiano in 2019 to financially fund three new charitable Foundations that serve the local Church in Fairfield County. This initiative also provides local parishes with an important opportunity to raise funds to address their own needs. Our parish goal is $1.15 million. This total is shared as follows:
- $456k to fund parish projects
- $456k to fund the three new Foundations
- $162k for the 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal
- $79k for campaign administration expenses
Below, we have provided information about the 3 primary projects for the Parish of St. Cecilia-St. Gabriel as well as information about the 3 new Foundations established by Bishop Caggiano. There is also a section with “Frequently Asked Questions” and information about several other projects the Parish will undertake if we exceed our goal.
Three Primary Parish Projects
1) Interior Renovation of St. Cecilia’s Rectory
The rectory building on St. Cecilia campus has housed parish priests since 1956, and will be the home of the priests who serve this parish community for years to come. Over the years it has fallen into some disrepair, though the building itself is fundamentally sound as well as aesthetically beautiful. The renovation will include the updating of the kitchen and bathrooms, the installation of a cooling system, the removal of some non-structural walls, the restoration of floors, and fresh paint. We will also make sure the house meets all building and fire codes to ensure the safety of all who live and visit there.
2) Create Parking Area for Parish Center
The Parish Center served the Parish of St. Cecilia for many years as a convent. Because it now houses our offices and several meeting spaces for the Parish of St. Cecilia-St. Gabriel, improved access to the building is needed. This includes parking that is closer to the building and which eliminates the need for people to parallel park unsafely in front of the Parish Center. The new parking area will be located in the “yellow” area in the photo above, between the Parish Center and the Marian Grotto located along Newfield Ave. It will provide approximately 10-12 parking spaces and will be configured to give guests easy access to the new Handicap Ramp.
3) Replace Parish Center Handicap Ramp
The current Handicap Ramp has fallen into serious disrepair and has become an eyesore. We intend to replace it with a new ramp that will lead from the new parking area directly to the front doors, where a mechanical door will be installed to allow those with reduced mobility easy access to our Parish Center.
Three New Foundations
Your gifts to We Stand With Christ will provide support to three Foundations that were established as lay-administered not-for-profit charitable corporations, wholly separate from the Diocese of Bridgeport. Please watch the following video for the Bishop’s message about these initiatives: 1) Foundations in Education, 2) Foundations in Charity, 3) Foundations in Faith.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is this different from the ACA?
Yes. The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) is the yearly collection taken up by every parish in Fairfield County to support the operations and good works of the Diocese of Bridgeport. We Stand With Christ is a special capital campaign based on 5-year pledges of support. These pledges can be paid monthly, quarterly, annually over the course of 5 years or less. Our parish’s ACA goal for 2020 is included in our We Stand With Christ goal. We will have to participate in the ACA again in 2021.
2) Are there any plans for projects at the St. Gabriel campus?
The St. Gabriel property, unlike the property at St. Cecilia’s, does not belong to our Parish. It is technically a property of the Diocese of Bridgeport. Because of this, the Diocese is responsible for the maintenance of the building’s structure and its mechanical plant. Bishop Caggiano expressly did not want the Parish to raise funds to address issues that are the responsibility of the Diocese. For this reason, the three primary projects address urgent Parish needs on the campus of St. Cecilia.
3) How can we be sure our donations to the campaign will be used properly?
This is a fair question. In order to give assurances to benefactors that the funds given to support the three Foundations will be used in accord with the donors’ intentions, Bishop Caggiano established them as separate charitable entities, distinct from the Diocese of Bridgeport. Apart from the funds allocated to the 2020 ACA and the administrative costs of the campaign, no funds from We Stand With Christ will go to the Diocese of Bridgeport. Donated funds will be administered and distributed from a third party to the three Foundations and to the Parish. The members of the boards of these Foundations are laypersons who have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the money given to the Foundations is used in accord with the mission of the Foundations.
4) Can I restrict my gift so it goes only to parish needs or a particular Foundation?
If a family would like to give a gift of $25k or more over five years, they would have the option of restricting their gift so that 100% of their donation could go to the Parish projects or to a particular Foundation. Gifts less than $25k will be shared 50-50 by the Parish and the Foundations, once the ACA goal and the allocation of campaign costs have been paid.
If our parish meets our goal of $1.15 million, the parish will receive 75% of all funds received beyond that amount. Once our primary projects are completed, we will apply the remaining funds to the following “above-goal” projects:
- Repair crumbling masonry of the Church of St. Cecilia
- Establish a parish lecture series
- Reconfigure handicap parking area at the Church of St. Cecilia
- Refurbish the rectory exterior