The Buffalo Catholic Diocese has surpassed its goal of $100 million for its "Upon This Rock" capital and endowment campaign.
"The Diocese of Buffalo is blessed to report that we have raised over $107 million for these vitally important institutions," announced Bishop Richard Malone to a room full of supporters Monday.
Malone thanked the Western New York community and its 163 Catholic parishes for surpassing the goal set by the campaign, one of the largest of its kind in the region. Malone said 27,000 people supported the effort, which this time was especially encouraged by parish priests - a resource not normally utilized by the diocese for fundraising.
"Our pastors throughout the diocese, who met with so many of their parishioners, inspiring them to contribute to the campaign - this in addition to their already grueling schedules and day-to-day responsibilities within their parishes," Malone said. "These fine gentlemen were really the foot soldiers that made this possible."
Rick Suchan, Diocese Director of Fundraising and Executive Director of the Foundation, said the funds raised through a 36-month "grassroots effort" was made necessary by changing times.
"For several years now, the Catholic Church in Buffalo has experienced dramatic shifts in population, in part a response to changing demographics of the faithful, as well as the demographics of Western New York overall," Suchan said. "It was abundantly clear that to combat this enormous challenge, the diocese would need to counter with an equally impactful solution."
Malone said the campaign was "designed to immediately impact" parishes, "as well as reshape the way the Church funds key ministries for the future."
"From expanding curriculum and expanding scholarship opportunities in our Catholic schools, to ensuring health care for our retiring diocesan priests, not to mention putting funds directly back into our 163 parishes throughout Western New York," Malone said, "this initiative ensures that we can continue not just to survive, but to thrive as one united community."
The diocese said about half the funds raised will go back into the parishes; $17 million will go to Christ the King Seminary, health care for retired priests and St. Joseph Cathedral; and $27 million will go toward Catholic Charities and Catholic Education.