By Celine Klosterman
Almeta Hill said she’s proud of the Davenport Diocese, and wanted to do what she could to help it. So she accepted an invitation to be secretary for efforts to promote the Davenport Diocese’s $22 million capital campaign at her parish, Immaculate Conception in Colfax. She makes a weekly report of her parish’s progress in the campaign, “Moving Forward in Faith in Hope,” to send to Community Counseling Services (CCS), the professional development firm overseeing the fundraising effort.
“It’s been great doing it,” Hill said. “I love any time I can volunteer to help make the church stronger in any way.”
As the final half of parishes in southeast Iowa are beginning to fundraise for the campaign, the diocese is seeking more people like Hill to volunteer to explain and promote the drive in their parishes. Parishioners are needed to make phone calls, visit families, handle secretarial duties and do other tasks for the campaign, which has so far raised more than $12 million in gifts and pledges.
Colleen Hogan, a volunteer at St. Mary Parish in Iowa City, said she believes funds being raised are going to good causes, especially to support clergy, seminarians, schools and parishes. “I’ve been at St. Mary’s all my life, so the money going back to the parish means a lot to me.” Twenty percent of funds received up to a parish’s target goal and 50 percent of any overage is returned to the parish.
Hogan and her husband, Wayne, members of the executive committee overseeing St. Mary’s fundraising efforts, also appreciate that funds will support Catholic education. They have a seventh-grader, Grant, at Regina Junior/Senior High School in Iowa City. “We’d like Regina to continue to be the wonderful school it has been,” Colleen Hogan said.
Paul Kaefring, a volunteer at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City, also believes funds raised are going to worthy causes. The campaign will help the diocese rebuild, heal and move away from past struggles, he said. He and his wife, Becky, are chairs of a major gift phase committee at St. Wenceslaus.
Two recent instances inspired him as a volunteer. He said that last month, he was “very impressed” by news that the diocese’s more than 100 priests had raised about $1 million. And during a recent tour of St. Vincent Center, diocesan headquarters in Davenport, he was moved to see Bishop Martin Amos painting a bathroom amid building renovations. “That makes you pause to think.”
For Teresa O’Neil, helping with fundraising efforts is “a nice way to work with other parishioners toward a common goal” and get to know them better, she said. She handles secretarial duties for the campaign at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.
“This campaign is going to help the diocese move into the future with some options we didn’t have before, like Catholic Charities,” she said. Some funds raised will go toward establishing Catholic Charities, a network of social service organizations.
Hopefully, the campaign “will make our diocese stronger and more visible,” she added.
O’Neil also was moved to volunteer out of gratitude. “I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for,” she said, “and this is something I can give back.”
To volunteer, contact your parish priest or parish life administrator.