Planned giving aids Diocese in doing God’s work
By Michael Lucotch
Director of Development
Greensburg – The 2023 Diocesan Lenten Appeal, One Body in Christ, has raised a record $5.7 million, which is $350,000 more than last year.
Participation from the faithful in the Diocese of Greensburg is higher, and the average amount of individual gifts is nearly 8% higher than in 2022.
“The results are remarkable,” said Paul Puleo, Managing Director of Development for the Diocese. “Almost all of our parishes across the four counties reached their Diocesan targets to support our ministries, such as our International Priest Program, faith formation and to support the economically disadvantaged and those in need who are supported through Catholic Charities.”
Parishioners are able to continue to donate to the DLA through the end of the year through the envelopes that were mailed to homes, through their parish, or securely online at DioceseofGreensburg.org/OneBody.
Puleo said nearly 35 parishes have exceeded their individual goals. Currently, more than $2 million of the pledged funds will be returned to those parishes for a number of projects to upgrade parish grounds or make repairs and increase ministry outreach programs.
St. Mary, Mother of God Parish, Freeport, had a multiple-year goal to renovate its 150-year-old stained glass windows. The project cost is $500,000; this year, parishioners have raised over $200,000.
“Under the leadership of Jeff Polana, this project has been made possible because of the beautiful generosity of the people of St. Mary’s,” said Monsignor Gilbert C. Gente, Pastor. Polana is the parish’s as DLA chairperson.
The window restoration is scheduled to be completed by 2026, when the parish will celebrate 200 years of its founding.
Monsignor Gente said the parish also is using $30,000 for new ministry programs.
St. Martin Parish, New Derry, is also planning a stained glass window renovation, along with other exterior windows.
Father Anthony Onoko, Pastor of St. Raymond of the Mountain Parish, Donegal, said the parish is using DLA funding to eliminate the parish debt, which reached a high of over $200,000 in January 2021, and for new carpeting and other renovations.
Many parishes are able to make critical infrastructure upgrades. Holy Trinity Parish, Ligonier, is working on a plan to replace its boiler with funds raised this year and last year.
Father Elmer Alforque, Administrator of the partner parishes of St. John the Baptist Parish, Scottdale, and St. Joseph Parish, Everson, said the parish share of the DLA campaign will be used to complete a two-year project to bring air conditioning to St. John the Baptist Parish and complete sidewalk repairs and exterior upgrades at St. Joseph Parish, which will include new lighting.
“There is a generous spirit at work here at the partner parishes of St John the Baptist and St Joseph,” Father Alforque said. “We are truly blessed by our parishioners’ continued generosity.”
With the additional funding, many parishes are adding security enhancements, landscaping or upgrading technology. At St. James Parish, New Alexandria, Father Tyler J. Bandura, Pastor, is planning flooring work, pew restoration and cushions, new kneelers, altar furniture refinishing, lighting upgrades and a new social hall entrance.
“We are incredibly grateful to the nearly 16,000 parishioners across the Diocese who have supported the 2023 DLA campaign,” Puleo said. “Their generosity assists the mission of strengthening the Body of Christ in our Diocesan church and in our parishes, enabling us to continue to carry the message of Christ into the world.”