Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 1, 2010
Cornerstone campaign canvasses other dioceses
Fundraisers hope to add $1.5M from Alberta, Western Canada
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - The Cornerstone of Faith Campaign is hoping to raise $1.5 million toward the construction of the new St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College from other dioceses in Alberta and Western Canada.
To date, it has raised $250,000, thanks to one generous donation.
"We've had constant conversations, the archbishop particularly, with other bishops of Western Canada and each of them is deciding in their own way how they can support the seminary and the college because this college and seminary is of benefit not only to the Archdiocese of Edmonton, but it's a blessing for the whole Church in Western Canada," says Father Stefano Penna, academic vice-president and dean of theology of Newman Theological College.
Penna and Ron Coulombe, a professional fundraiser and director of the Cornerstone of Faith campaign, are in charge of raising money for the seminary and college construction from other Western Canadian dioceses.
"Archbishop Smith has already sent a couple of letters to the bishops of the other dioceses.
"Some dioceses have responded with gifts and others have said they support the project, but they have their own needs," Coulombe noted.
"I think some of the dioceses feel that they are making a contribution with the fees they pay to bring their seminarians here.
"And so we are extending the invitation and we understand that all the dioceses do have their own local needs (that) are probably higher on the agenda than the seminary and college here in our archdiocese."
The $250,000 comes from just one diocese, Penna said in a separate interview.
At this point, the committee looking for money outside the Edmonton Archdiocese is formulating a plan that includes contacting seminary and college alumni in the major centres of Western Canada.
"We are setting up meetings now with major donors in other dioceses through alumni of Newman and further than that, with the permission of the local ordinaries, we will be inviting these dioceses to participate in fundraising for the seminary," Penna said.
"We are trying to identify people who have the capacity to help us in an extraordinary way in other dioceses and also we are trying to see through the local ordinaries, through the bishops, how they can open up their dioceses to allow us to approach parishes and the alumni are very central in that."
Penna admitted some dioceses are somewhat "reticent" when it comes to contributing money.
"The dollar is tight," he laughed.
"We are trying, with the permission of the local bishop, to use our own contacts in the various dioceses to approach people, but only if the bishop allows it."
Added Penna: "This is the next big push. It's not simply a question of a responsibility on the part of other dioceses to support this seminary, which they do in many ways, but it is also to give the Church in Western Canada a sense of ownership, unity and solidarity with the work that happens in the seminary."
The $ 1.5 million the Cornerstone of Faith campaign is hoping to raise outside the archdiocese is needed to help cover the $15 million shortfall between the $42.3 million the archdiocese received for selling the former seminary and college near St. Albert and what it needs to pay for the new buildings currently under construction.
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