Our Shepherds-Our Future
From the Bishop
The Our Shepherds - Our Future Capital Campaign will support two initiatives that received solid support from laity and clergy from a feasibility study undertaken in our diocese: Seminarian Education and Clergy Retirement.
"I am confident that by working together, clergy and laity alike, we can lead our diocese into the future by addressing these initiatives now. I ask you to join me in prayer and generosity as we embark on this historic and transformational journey as one Church." - Bishop Walkowiak
Read the full text of Bishop Walkowiak's letter to parishioners.
Read "A Letter from a Seminarian" to parishioners
Para ver el video de la campaña en español presione aqui.
Watch Seminarians Noah Thelen and André Klaes, and Fr. Don Weber tell their vocation story.
If embedded video above won't play, click here to play from our YouTube Channel.
Goal: $33 Million
Read the Case Statement
Para leer el folleto de la campaña en español
Bishop's Guarantee: Any funds raised over the $33 million goal that are not designated to a specific campaign initiative will be allocated by the bishop to the campaign initiative(s) of greatest need, including the feasibility study initiative of specialized education.
Click the arrow to the right to toggle between the results and the goals of the campaign.
Seminarian Formation ($29 Million)
Currently we have 20 men in formation. Annually, our Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) funds $700,000 (approximately the equivalent of 14 seminarians) of the $1 million in costs for our seminarians (2020-21 rates). The increase in seminarians in recent years has diminished our restricted funds, which will be perilously low by the end of 2023, excluding gifts given in waves one and two of the Our Shepherds - Our Future Capital Campaign, even if no new men were to enter. Endowing seminarian education in the amount of $20 million and creating a restricted fund in the amount of $9 million will ensure the financial resources needed to prepare our future priests for years to come.
Clergy Retirement ($2 Million)
With 63 active and 42 retired priests, Catholics in West Michigan have been blessed with shepherds who have accompanied them through times of celebration and times of struggle. Called to minister as Christ, they have given their lives in service to our Church. Our priests’ retirement fund is supported only through an annual assessment of 1% of a parish’s revenue (i.e., not by the annual “Retirement Fund for Religious” collection which supports order priests and religious, or the Catholic Services Appeal). A $2 million investment into the Priest Retirement Fund is critical to help ensure a dignified retirement for those nearing the end of their service, as well as for those just beginning.Read more
Campaign Expenses ($2 Million)
Running a quality, successful fundraising effort the scale of our diocesan capital campaign requires its own investment. The costs incurred from this effort include design, printing and postage, project management, grant writing and special events. Though significant, these costs will be far outweighed by the positive impact on our initiatives generated from your goodwill.
The 80 parishes of our diocese are scheduled to participate in the campaign in three waves: May - July 2019 (pilot wave); Wave 2 from November 2019 - February 2020 and Wave 3 beginning May 1, 2021. View the list of parishes included in each wave here.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Upon his installation in 2013, Bishop Walkowiak made vocations one of his top priorities to ensure a strong supply of men studying for the priesthood.
With more than 35 priests due to retire by 2023, it became critical to plan strategically for the future.
The first step was to update the role of the director of priestly vocations. This position provides a vital presence in the diocese. There is an energy and approach to this critical role that is inspiring, supportive and offers a fine role model for men discerning the priesthood. The efforts of this position have generated strong results - between 2016 and 2018, 25 men entered the seminary. In 2019, an additional five men entered and two more in 2020, every Yes is vital to ensuring the future of the Catholic Church in West Michigan.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
The holistic formation our seminarians receive is comprised of human and spiritual formation, academic training in philosophy and theology, and pastoral formation. This comprehensive approach prepares them well for the rigorous and rewarding life of a priest, but it also requires a significant investment, particularly at the graduate level. Our seminarians need our help to make their ministry possible. The diocese is committed to helping cover the costs of seminarian education to help ensure that we have enough priests to serve our parishes into the future, especially with more than 35 priests due to retire by 2023.
WHERE ARE WE HEADED?
The current source of funding - outside of the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) and the generous gifts given in waves one and two of the Our Shepherds - Our Future campaign - for our men studying for the priesthood will be perilously low by the end of 2023. Through your generosity, our CSA covers the education of approximately 14 men per year. We are blessed to have more than that number of men studying to serve our diocese. We are called, not only to encourage young men to answer God's call by assuming some of their financial burdens, but also called as Catholics to help ensure for them a dignified retirement after their lifetime of service.
Ways to Give
Selecting the best gift plan depends on your personal financial situation and goals. As tax laws are always changing and each individual's situation is unique, donors are encouraged to consult with their financial advisor to determine which method of contributing is most beneficial.
Our Shepherds - Our Future is a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with the EIN number 83-3605677.
Commemorate your gift
The Diocese of Grand Rapids is eager to work with you to help make your gift that much more meaningful to you and our local Church. Gifts at the level of $100,000 or above can be established as a named fund in honor or memory of a loved one, or in recognition of the spiritual care you've received. Contact the Diocesan Finance Office, 616-514-6059 for more information.
Check/Credit Card/Automatic Payment
Donating is as simple as writing a check or authorizing a charge or recurring automatic payment on your credit card or from your bank account.
Checks should be made payable to "Our Shepherds - Our Future, Inc." noting Capital Campaign in the memo section of the check.
To give a one-time gift or submit a pledge for automatic payments using your credit card or direct debit from a bank account, visit our secure online giving page:
Gift of Stock/Property
Charitable gifts of stocks, bonds or mutual funds, as well as gifts of property (e.g. homes, farmland, crops, or livestock) may offer special tax advantages. To arrange a gift of this type, contact the Diocesan Finance Office at 616-514-6059 or use this form
We invite you to pray for the success of Our Shepherds - Our Future
Campaign Prayer |Oración de la Campaña
Most Rev. David J. Walkowiak,
Bishop of Grand Rapids
Father Charlie Brown
Father Steve Geerling
Father Troy Nevins
Father Scott Nolan
Father Mark Peacock
Father Mark Przybysz
Msgr. Ernie Schneider
Msgr. R. Louis Stasker
Father Len Sudlik
Father Wayne Wheeler
Msgr. William H. Duncan, vicar general and
moderator of the curia
Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications
Michael A. Lown, chancellor/CFO
Catholic Foundation of West Michigan
Greg Deja, executive director
Erinn Hill, stewardship officer
Dan & Sherry Bowen
Ron & Joan Griffith
Bishop Emeritus Walter Hurley
John & Nancy Kennedy
Dennis & Margaret Leiber
Bishop Emeritus Robert Rose
Peter & Michelle Baldwin
John & Angela Bursch
Lou & Nancy Moran
Mark & Elizabeth Murray
Rich & Mary Panek
Tony & Kate Soave
Russ & Chris Visner
Please contact one of our Steier Group campaign managers - Diane Keller, Dan Minton, and Art Ledesma (Bilingual) (on resulting page, click the "Campaign Managers" tab) with questions regarding the campaign.
You may also find answers to frequently asked questions in the following bulletin inserts:
(Seminarian Education | Priest Retirement | Discerning your Gift | A Letter from a Seminarian)