Special to The Dialog
Another parish has reached its goal in the Sustaining Hope for the Future campaign as total pledges close in on the overall goal of $28 million.
As of Monday, the total pledged stood at $27,550,000, according to Deborah Fols, the Diocese of Wilmington’s director of development who oversees the campaign.
St. John Neumann in Berlin, Md., is the latest parish to surpass its target. Of the 33 parishes participating in the second wave of the campaign, St. John Neumann is the sixth parish to achieve such success.
Sustaining Hope for the Future seeks to raise $10 million to streng-then the pension plan for past and many current diocesan lay employees; $3 million for the Trust for the Welfare and Retirement of Priests; $2 million for diocesan ministries, and $11.2 million for various parish needs.
Of the 21 parishes that participated in Wave I, $7.25 million, or just under 80 percent of their combined goals was received in pledges. Three additional parishes conducting their own campaigns raised $5.2 million, including $1.5 million for the diocese.
Bishop Malooly raised more than $3 million of the goal himself during the campaign’s “silent” phase.
Father Joseph Cocucci, pastor of St. John Neumann, believes his parish’s success shows that “the people here want to see the diocese exist on a more solid footing. They agree with the fact that our employees deserve a just pension and that our priests should be able to retire with dignity.”
St. John Neumann’s local money will go toward converting to city water and sewer services, resurfacing a parking lot, and making some concrete repairs, Father Cocucci said.
Any remaining money will establish the St. John Neumann Legacy Fund to meet future parish needs.
The conversion to city water and sewer is timely, he said.
“Up to now we’ve been managing our own wells and septic tanks, as city water and sewage were not available here when the church was built decades ago,” he said. “Our tanks are nearing the end of their useful life, and it will be good for us to be out of the utility business.”
He thanked parishioners for their efforts.
“There is a great spirit here,” Father Cocucci said. “While in any parish there will always be some people who are not happy, our success is a sign that the great majority of parishioners get what we’re trying to do here and are happy with our life together.
“They come here to be nourished, and having been nourished, they, in turn, participate in providing nourishment for others.”