Scot Landry's Letter FY06

Scot Landry's Letter from Annual Report Fiscal Year 2006

My Fellow Catholics,

Many of you have heard the great news that the 2006 Catholic Appeal raised $13.8 million, which represented an increase of 15% from 2005 and 55% since 2002. On behalf of all those who work for the Church and who are supported by contributions to the Catholic Appeal, I thank you for your participation, your generosity, and your trust.

While a great deal of progress has been made over the past four years, there is much more still to be done. Our hope and prayer is that more people will realize the tremendous positive impact that they can have in helping the many important programs and good works of the Church.

Outreach & Stewardship

With that said, we must improve in the way we, as a Catholic community, encourage, teach and practice Christian stewardship. Jesus teaches us so much in the Gospels about stewardship, which means recognizing that our blessings and gifts ultimately come from our loving God, who trusts us to develop those gifts and share them for the good of his whole family. In following Christ’s example, we hope that more of our parishioners will see the many needs of the Church and come forward to share their time, talent and financial resources to build a stronger community of faith. In terms of financial stewardship, we have four hopes.

  1. We hope that all Catholics will support their parish in a committed way, either via weekly envelopes or through regular electronic giving.
  2. We hope that our efforts at transparency, outreach and stewardship will encourage parishioners that are currently giving minimally to their parish to be more generous.
  3. We hope that after deciding to be stronger financial stewards of their parish communities, that all Catholics will look to the mission and needs of the broader Church and commit to supporting the Catholic Appeal annually and a few other causes that are dear to them.
  4. We hope that Catholics will remember the Church in their wills.

Improved Coordination and Giving Options 

At an Archdiocesan level, we want to continue to improve the way we facilitate giving to the Church. We seek to better coordinate the frequency and type of support we ask of our parishioners.

We also will make it easier to give electronically. Some parishes have already adopted electronic payment programs, to the delight of parishioners and pastors. We want to encourage and make these options available to all parishioners and parishes. We face a number of challenges as we encourage greater financial support for all the Church’s works.

  • Within the Church, so many entities have large needs for fundraising and are building development organizations. Many of our parishes face a new economic situation of maintaining older building and employing laypeople, with much higher salaries than the Priests, Religious Sisters or Religious Brothers of decades past. A particular focus within our Archdiocese will be the 2010 Initiative to strengthen Catholic Schools. Gone are the days where modest tuition and small fundraisers could cover the costs of providing an affordable education at a Catholic school. Without strong coordination efforts, we risk too much competition for contributors among our entities and too many solicitations of our parishioners.
  • Outside the Church, we have many of the elite fundraising organizations in our country among our nearby universities, hospitals, museums and social service organizations. Since many of our parishioners support these institutions also, the large capital campaigns being planned for these local institutions can impact the support the Church receives, particularly at the leadership level of giving. While these organizations raise the bar for our efforts, they also provide plenty of insights from which we can learn and benefit.
  • The high cost of living, particularly for home purchases, rents, and higher tuition at every level of education, are placing a huge burden on younger working families that desire to save enough to meet these increasing costs. This impacts the amount they are willing to give responsibly to their parish family.

Responding to the Challenges 

Despite these challenges, we only need to look to the generosity of Catholics in our previous century for our inspiration. On far more limited means, Catholics came together to build an incredibly vibrant Catholic Church in our Archdiocese. What a remarkable testimony to their faith and love for God, the Church and each other. I am confident that our generation of Catholics is up to that same challenge. We look forward to embracing this challenge together as we look toward our Bicentennial year and to the type of Church we hope to leave our children and grandchildren.

We pray that in the months and years ahead, we can earn trust and continued support to help us to pass on the faith to future generations of Catholics.

Best regards,

Scot Landry
Secretary for Advancement & Chief Development Officer