The Four Pillars Supporting the Future of the Catholic Diocese of Utah
Bishop Wester asked the Catholic Foundation Board to help him spread the word about the challenges and opportunities faced by the growing Catholic Church in Utah. He concluded there are four pillars on which our future rests - the Board of Trustees has established corresponding endowments for each pillar; they include:
Pillar One — Expansion of Facilities and Programs (Bishop's Future Fund)
Pillar Two — Funding for Catholic Schools and Youth Ministry (Youth Ministry and Education Endowment)
Pillar Three — Training for the Priesthood (Seminarian and Priestly Formation Endowment)
Pillar Four — Supporting Our Rural Church Communities (Rural Church Development and Missionary Outreach Endowment)
So much of our future rests on the success of building strong endowments in these areas. They are the means by which our Church - your parish, our Catholic schools, our social service agencies and all of the ministries, programs and services of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City - can experience at least a partial respite from the treadmill of annual appeals for more and more monies.
† Pillar One Expansion of Facilities and Programs (Bishop's Future Fund)
During the past 20 years, the Catholic Church in Utah has grown dramatically. New facilities and substantial upgrades were completed in several urban and rural areas. However, with real estate values escalating at an alarming rate, it has never been more important to plan for future expansion by making prudent purchases of land in areas where population growth will require new churches and schools. The Church needs property in all areas where population increases will take place. This includes the communities along the Wasatch Front - from Ogden to Provo - as well as Utah 's rural areas.
Utah Catholics cannot foresee all the needs the coming years will present. However, it is certain endowments funded now will help ease the strain of future expansion of facilities nurturing the Catholic faith in Utah for generations to come. The Bishop's Future Fund will be used to:
† Buy land for future parish and mission communities
† Build new churches, schools and facilities
† Expand and renovate already existing physical plants
When we make an endowed gift to this Fund, we are proclaiming with great joy our faith conviction, while we unselfishly lay the groundwork for generations to come.
† Pillar Two Funding for Catholic Schools and Youth Ministry (Youth Ministry and Education Endowment)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops calls for a focused concern on the needs of our young people. The Diocese of Salt Lake City has, since its very beginning, been dedicated to the care and cultivation of Catholic youth leaders. This is especially true for minority youth.
The Diocese provides direct services promoting a holistic pastoral response to the needs of youth through its Office of Youth Ministry. The Diocese also works cooperatively with other groups in the community to sponsor retreats, camp experiences and the development of at-risk programs for young people.
The mission entrusted to the followers of Jesus is to teach the good news, heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God in our midst. Catholic schools offer the best opportunity for educating young people in the traditions, values and teachings of the Catholic faith. Catholic education has also been a central focus of the Diocese of Salt Lake City since its earliest days. The challenge facing Catholic schools in Utah is how to keep the cost affordable while at the same time providing just and competitive salaries to Catholic school employees.
The Youth Ministry and Education Endowment exists to support programs which will protect and nurture our children. It will provide monies for catechetical materials and religious education. Finally, by providing an additional subsidy, it attempts to drive a significant wedge between rising costs of education and the need to provide a just and fair salary for our teachers.
† Pillar Three Training for the Priesthood (Seminarian and Priestly Formation Endowment)
Forecasts indicate the number of Utah Catholics will rapidly increase in years to come. This accelerated growth underscores the need for more well-trained priests and pastors.
Preparation for the priesthood does not come easily or cheaply. It involves a long process which includes academic studies, formation in spiritual life, and training in pastoral skills. The cost is enormous - in excess of $40,000 per year for each seminarian. A well-endowed Seminarian and Priestly Formation Endowment will make it possible for the Diocesan Vocations Office to carry out an aggressive recruitment effort aimed at encouraging candidates for the priesthood. Further, it will ensure those who do answer the call will be educated and well-trained throughout their lifetime of service to the Church.
The diocese is currently blessed with 10 seminarians. This is wonderful news for the future needs of our Utah Catholic Church. However, the diocese needs to budget $400,000 annually to educate these seminarians. This is the largest single item in our current budget. How different things would be if we had an $8 million endowment providing a four percent annual distribution for the education of priests. It would provide nearly the entire amount needed to fund this vital work.
† Pillar Four Supporting our Rural Church Communities (Rural Church Development and Missionary Outreach Endowment)
Utah is a vast land of sharp contrasts. It is a land of harsh deserts and rugged mountains, a land where all is precious and nothing is taken for granted, a fierce land that quickly challenges the human spirit. Utah Catholics mirror the land in which they live. Though numbering a mere ten percent of the population, they have carved out their identity and shaped their destiny as surely as the pinnacles and peaks that surround them daily. Because they are scattered throughout the state, many of these Catholics often struggle to witness their faith and live out their values.
In these isolated regions, the challenge for the Church has been to support and maintain the faith of Catholics, especially the young and migrant Hispanics. It is tempting for people in isolation to identify with the majority group, often to avoid social estrangement. The living and working conditions for the priests, sisters and lay evangelizers are daunting. Each month they travel thousands of miles to provide Mass, sacraments and religious instruction for the people. Automobiles are quickly worn out; the costs of gas and auto maintenance is significant. The resources of the local people are slim.
Keeping these individuals linked to the Church will always be a challenge. However, maintaining this evangelizing presence in the missions guarantees cultural support for generations of Catholics to come. Endowed gifts donated to the Catholic Rural Missionary Outreach and Development Endowment will be used for:
† Transportation needs including purchase of vehicles
† Purchasing of communications and data processing equipment and software
† Providing catechetical resource materials
Help those who are at least partially unable to help themselves by considering a gift to this Endowment.