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Capital campaign to support seminarians and priests to move forward

Image: Father Lam holds the ciborium during MassFeasibility study showed support among laity, clergy
This summer the diocese tested the feasibility and potential support for a diocesan capital campaign,
with the assistance of the Steier Group from Omaha, Nebraska.
This feasibility study is the conclusion of many years of discussion with diocesan leadership about the need to conduct a capital campaign to advance the priorities of our local Church. Throughout the study, parishioners participated through a personal interview, by attending a town hall or by completing a mail or online survey. Thank you to those who participated in this important study! Your input was vital to its success.
In September, the Steier Group presented the study findings and recommendations to Bishop Walkowiak, diocesan leadership and priests.
The study revealed solid support by participants willing to give of their time, talent and treasure
to ensure a robust future for the Catholic Church in West Michigan. Based on these positive findings
and the feedback from subsequent meetings with clergy and diocesan leadership, Bishop Walkowiak has
prayerfully discerned that we will move forward with a diocesan-wide capital campaign. The initiative(s)
to be funded and their amounts will be decided in conjunction with the campaign committees comprised
of clergy and lay leaders. Now is the time to join together on behalf of the greater good of our diocese
and step forward in faith on this journey. 
Respondents in favor of the campaign: Overall, 86 percent of clergy and 92 percent of lay leaders were in support of a campaign to address diocesan needs. The Steier Group recommends moving forward with a campaign when clergy and lay leader support tops 70 percent.
Respondents who will make a gift to the campaign: Overall, 73 percent of participants indicated they would make a gift to the campaign. The Steier Group recommends moving forward with a campaign when more than 60 percent of participants say they will make a gift.

Why are we starting a campaign in the midst of the clergy abuse scandal?

The clergy scandal is painful news for all of us. Still, our current priests and the 30-plus good men
currently in seminary formation are the future of our diocese. Present seminarian numbers only equal
the number of clergy looking to retire over the next 10 years. It is our responsibility, as Catholic
faithful, to ensure our diocese is served – both now and in the decades to come – by priests who are
able to help us live the faith. Catholics in West Michigan have shared their willingness to help meet
these needs. 

Where do I find more information on the capital campaign?

As details are finalized, more information will be released in parish bulletins, FAITH Grand Rapids magazine, on the diocesan website and social media.

If you have additional questions, please contact:

Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications at