Foundations of Faith Campaign
The St. Giles Foundations of Faith campaign will launch in early 2018, so we ask each member of our family of faith to begin prayerful consideration about their financial and volunteer support of this important initiative. Perhaps you would like to open your home to a group of friends and host a campaign gathering. Perhaps you are interested in serving as an Ambassador and making personal visits to invite pledges and gifts.
Our hope is that everyone will do what they can to make this effort a great success. You can begin now with your daily prayers for God’s guidance as decisions are made and plans are finalized. Also, as you prepare for your year-end tax deductible contributions, consider offering an initial gift in 2017 toward your upcoming Foundations of Faith pledge. What a great blessing that would be!
Contact Sharon Bresnahan at the Parish Center at 708-383-3430 ext. 420 or email@example.com for more information.
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – DECEMBER 17, 2017
Christmas is just around the corner. As we prepare to gather with friends, families and loved ones to exchange presents, enjoy good food and make new memories, it’s important that we never forget the greatest gift ever given – God’s Son, our Savior. `Tis the season for miracles and wonder, for joy and thanksgiving. No other time of year holds so much promise, anticipation or excitement as this most holy season.
We know that in all areas of our lives we must “follow the star” and listen closely for God’s guidance. The celebration of Christmas always gives us pause as the Lord’s never-ending love surrounds each person who believes.
The people of St. Giles are believers… in the foundations of our faith, in our Catholic heritage, in Christian stewardship. We share in the responsibility for that which has been entrusted to us. We accomplished much during our last campaign but, with a campus the size of ours, there are always facility issues to address and improvements to make. Through our Foundations of Faith campaign, we each have the opportunity to express our thanks for blessings received through our volunteer hours, our financial resources and our daily prayers. Let us remember that this initiative is also the Lord’s work, and He will guide our efforts as we join together to achieve all of our goals and secure an even brighter tomorrow for the St. Giles Parish family of faith.
With our hearts filled with the love of Christmas and our eyes always watching for the star, may we reflect on the gifts we will share to carefully tend to one of our blessed foundations of faith – our Parish home. For all we celebrate today, raise your voices in song and rejoice as Heaven and Angels sing!
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – DECEMBER 10, 2017
Meet the Team! – As we prepare for our Foundations of Faith campaign, we continue to introduce you to the men and women who have graciously agreed to serve as campaign leaders. This week, please say a prayer of thanksgiving for Cathy Rhomberg.
Cathy Rhomberg is “overwhelmed with gratitude” when she reflects on the 20 years that the St. Giles community has been a cornerstone in her family’s life. Moving to Oak Park as a young couple, Cathy and Roger joined St. Giles and found a wealth of blessings. “We have shared so many milestones and memories here. Our kids have progressed through the school, participating in the sacraments, service projects, choir, altar serving, etc. Similarly, my husband and I have spent time serving on committees and sharing our faith with others on School Board, PREP, CCW, Men’s Society and, importantly, Retreads basketball.”
Cathy reflects on how quickly time has passed. Now they have two sons in college (Charlie, 21 and Ben, 19), one in high school (Roger III, 16) and are on their third four-legged family member, Daisy, an English bulldog.
Roger is self employed in sales and contracts with La-Z-Boy Furniture. Cathy assists Roger with his business, manages their household and does what she can to support St. Giles and the Oak Park community. Cathy’s hobbies include cooking, traveling, reading and pilates. She also delights in “Forced Family Fun Nights” when she and her men explore Chicago, go to the symphony or try new restaurants. “It’s mandatory!”
Cathy loves the reaction that visitors have when they first come to the St. Giles campus. “They are in awe of our beuatiful church, grounds and vibrant community spirit. It is then that I am reminded how special St. Giles is. We have a lot to be proud of and, with that, comes responsibility. This is one of the reasons I have volunteered to serve on the Leadership Team for the Foundations of Faith campaign. It is important for me to give back so that future generations will have experiences like the ones my family have enjoyed.”
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – DECEMBER 3, 2017
Meet the Team! – As we prepare for our Foundations of Faith campaign, we are happy to introduce you to the men and women who have graciously agreed to serve as campaign leaders. This week, please say a prayer of thanksgiving for Jeanne Gallo and Jim Gates.
Jeanne Gallo is intimately familiar with most volunteer opportunities at St. Giles, particularly regarding capital campaigns. Foundations of Faith will be Jeanne’s third, and she is just as enthusiastic about this effort as she was for the Good Gift and Shared Cup campaigns.
“St. Giles has been at the center of our family life since we moved to the parish in 1996. My involvement in this project is a concrete way to pay it forward and say ‘thank you’ for all that the parish has given me and my family.”
Married for 32 years, John and Jeanne were high school sweethearts who grew up in the Western suburbs, were students at Benet Academy, went to Catholic colleges and then lived in Boston while John attended law school. Jeanne has her own event planning businesses – G.E.M. (Gallo Event Management) and a wedding planning business – GalloMilo Weddings. After 21 years in private practice, John recently became CEO of the Legal Assitance Foundation of Chicago.
Over the years, Jeanne has been significantly involved in both the parish and school, particularly when her four children were students at St. Giles. Recognizing that it is sometimes difficult to stay connected after children graduate, both Jeanne and John actively sought new volunteer roles… and they found many. Each provided the opportunity to meet new people who have become lifelong friends. Jeanne sees being able to participate in Foundations of Faith as a blessing. “I’m so grateful to be in St. Giles at this time in my life – reaping the benefits of being a parishioner. I’m looking forward to working together again toward a common goal of securing and improving what makes up the foundation of our parish family.”
Jim Gates is a strong believer that “The Lord never asks more of us than we can handle with His help.” A parishioner since 1987, Jim has said yes to many volunteer opportunities at St. Giles – Parish Pastoral Council (currently as chair), lector, catechist for 8th grade, trainer for altar servers, and Ambassador for The Shared Cup. Professionally, Jim taught middle-school English, history and humanities for 33 years in District 97, served as the District Department Chair for History and English, and was President of the District 97 School Board. The Lord has clearly given Jim strength to handle many different responsibilities at St. Giles and in the community.
Jim and his bride of 31 years, Louise, have a decades-long tradition of weekly date nights where they enjoy sampling different ethnic cuisines. Even when their three children were younger, this time together was a priority. “The stronger we are, the stronger our family is!” In addition to their children – all with careers in education – they have two grandchildren (9 and 12). The picture shows the family celebrating Jim and Louise’s vow renewal on their 25th anniversary.
Born on his mother’s birthday, Jim feels blessed to share her sense of humor and love of laughter. He also feels blessed to be part of such a special parish. “We love it here! I love the fact that it seems like my second home. I feel like I belong, like I am welcome, like I am invited to participate. I’ve had many major surgeries and the parish was there for me. When I’ve needed the parish, it’s been here for me, so I want to do all I can for St. Giles.”
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – NOVEMBER 19, 2017
Answering the Call to Leadership – As St. Giles prepares for its upcoming capital campaign, Fr. Carl has been busy enlisting individuals willing to serve in a leadership role. Some of these men and women volunteered during the Feasibility Study, some were recommended by fellow parishioners and others said yes to their pastor’s invitation. Our heartfelt appreciation to…
Michael and Ellen Griffin
We’re sure you are familiar with many of these names as they have – over their many years at St. Giles – participated in multiple ministries and organizations of the parish. Even with all their current volunteer efforts and their extremely busy lives, they have graciously stepped forward to assist Fr. Carl in this very special way.
As we enter the week of Thanksgiving, we ask for prayers of gratitude for our Campaign Leadership Team and for every person who makes St. Giles a priority through the sharing of their precious time and talents.
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – OCTOBER 29, 2017
Feasibility Study Highlights – In preparation for our upcoming capital campaign, a Feasibility Study was conducted last summer to test proposed funding priorities and enlist parishioner feedback. Our thanks to the 40 individuals who took time out from their busy schedules to participate.
While much of the Study focused on the campaign – what would people be willing to support, who do they feel should lead the effort, would they serve as volunteers, etc. – we also wanted to know how people felt about St. Giles overall. We offered 20 specific elements of parish life and asked the participants to evaluate them on a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent). The statistical responses as well as the conversation showed that people are quite happy at St. Giles.
The highest ranking item – clergy − received a 3.74 weighted average. The second highest, receiving a 3.50 weighted average, was the school. Fifteen of the 20 areas ranked between good and excellent, which is a testament to the love people have for this wonderful family of faith.
When asked to describe the special or distinctive characteristics of St. Giles, almost every comment was positive and heartfelt. The sense of community, the welcoming spirit and the inclusiveness were the most frequently mentioned. Many of these same sentiments were repeated when participants were asked what elements draw people to St. Giles. In this section, however, the school was most often repeated followed closely by Fr. Carl (“He has made a phenomenal difference here.”) and the community.
Over and over again, we heard that people feel blessed to be part of St. Giles Parish. And that, in itself, is a great blessing!
If you are eager to learn more now rather than wait until next week’s article, additional information can be found at http://www.toteachwhochristis.org/.
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – OCTOBER 22, 2017
During the past four weeks, information regarding the Archdiocesan-wide capital campaign – To Teach Who Christ Is (TTWCI) − has been shared through our bulletin and website. Every parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago has participated, or is now participating, in this special fundraising initiative. While some parishes opted to simply raise money for their portion of TTWCI, most have recognized additional facility needs and are combining those for a broader based campaign.
That is the case with St. Giles. A campus of our size always faces maintenance and repair issues and, while we accomplished much with our Shared Cup project, our upcoming campaign will allow us to focus on four main components… (1) Church tuckpointing, (2) an elevator in the Corrigan Building, (3) the balance of the new windows for the Frawley Building and (4) the renovation of the bathrooms outside of the gym.
These are the items that were deemed most important by the parishioners who participated in last year’s feasibility study. We thank them for their involvement and their input. One of the things that they felt was absolutely vital to the success of this effort was… time. They asked for some extra time between the end of our last campaign and this one. We listened and have spent the past year preparing and planning. Please watch the bulletin for additional information regarding our campaign and the ways you can be a blessing to St. Giles while helping us achieve our goals.
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – OCTOBER 15, 2017
A vibrant parish life is central to fulfilling the mission of the Church. The To Teach Who Christ Is campaign is helping to strengthen and sustain parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago. The funds that remain in the parishes ensure our faith communities are economically stable and can continue to bear hope through their presence, sacramental life and ministries. Each parish has been assigned a campaign target − a goal that is 130% of their total annual offertory giving, including Christmas and Easter collections. Parishes keep 60% of all funds they raise for needs they identify and share the remaining 40% with other parishes and ministries for the benefit of Catholics throughout the Archdiocese. Parishes exceeding their goals keep 100% of the funds collected above their campaign target.
More than 2,800 individual structures − sacred spaces as well as parish activity buildings, convents, rectories and schools − can be found in Cook and Lake counties. Many of these buildings have needs and issues beyond what some parishes in distressed communities are able to address given their financial circumstances. Addressing these issues in a timely manner is often critical. A full $30 million of the funds raised for To Teach Who Christ Is will be designated for urgently needed repairs in low-income parishes and to help them provide for handicapped accessible services. In addition, a facilities information management system has been created to track projects across the Archdiocese and allow for a more collaborative and economical approach to purchase construction services.
Here at St. Giles, the portion of funds we will retain will go toward continued care for our beautiful complex which will include the tuckpointing of the Church and the completion of new windows in the Frawley Building. All improvements will help us continue as a vibrant family of faith. Future bulletin articles will offer more detail on the priorities on which we will focus.
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – OCTOBER 8, 2017
A pilot initiative of To Teach Who Christ Is, the Caritas Scholars Program, has already provided scholarships to more than 2,000 children. These scholarship awards are not only helping to eliminate the financial barriers that often stand between families and a Catholic education, they are being given to children and their families – not to schools. Caritas scholarships follow children to whatever Catholic school they choose to attend, a measure of flexibility that will further help sustain the Catholic school system.
With regard to religious education, this is a ministry for which all Catholics are responsible. More than 96,000 elementary and secondary school children are enrolled in religious education programs in parishes throughout Cook and Lake Counties. In addition, parishes provide religious education to teens through youth ministry as well as to adults, including those seeking to enrich their journey with Christ or join our faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Ensuring that religious education remains a high priority requires educated and trained catechetical leaders to teach the Word and parish programs that evolve along with the communities they serve. To Teach Who Christ Is will provide $10 million for formation programs leading to Archdiocesan certification of religious education coordinators as well as youth ministers, and the ongoing formation of certified religious education directors and other certified catechetical leaders.
“Day after day, both in and around the temple” – Those involved with ministry in the Church today are keenly aware of the need to effectively engage children, youth, young adults and adults in their Catholic faith. Parishes throughout the United States, including in the Archdiocese of Chicago, are now creating innovative religious education programs based on new models of child, youth and adult learning. To Teach Who Christ Is seeks to provide a minimum of $2 million to identify, study and replicate the current best approaches to religious education. The Archdiocesan Department of Parish Life and Formation will engage a group of parish leaders with a goal of examining strong religious education and faith formation programs and then, after measuring outcomes, replicating them for broader use. Funds for innovation will support the enhancement of religious education programs in parishes, as well as professional development, staff and volunteer training, and equipment.
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – OCTOBER 1, 2017
As Cardinal Blase Cupich now leads the effort, he reinforces the hopes and dreams of Cardinal George. “The Cardinal shared with me the needs which the campaign will address and why the very ambitious goal of $350 million has been set. A majority of the funds raised will be returned to parishes for their unique needs. Building strong parishes is essential to current and future generations of Catholics, and $150 million will directly benefit the needs, and reward the efforts, of our parishes. Also vital is ensuring Catholic education is always available to families in need. A second $150 million is being directed to the newly established Catholic Education Scholarship Trust to ensure scholarship awards are available to our children, our grandchildren, and even their children! This endowed fund truly helps guarantee excellence in Catholic education in perpetuity. How exciting it is to see faith formation being taken to a new, innovative level, and support given to catechists, as well as facility and life safety issues being addressed at our most vulnerable churches and properties.”
INFORMATION PUBLISHED IN BULLETIN – SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
During last year’s Feasibility Study to gather parishioner feedback regarding our participation in the upcoming Archdiocesan capital campaign, To Teach Who Christ Is, there was a strong desire expressed to delay the launch of this initiative for one year. Recognizing that we are required to participate in this effort, along with every parish in the Chicago Archdiocese, we requested – and were granted – a delayed start date. With that time now past, we are in the planning phase for this important effort. While To Teach Who Christ Is was launched in the Archdiocese more than four years ago, there may be parishioners who are unfamiliar with the campaign and its objectives. We will be providing information during the next several weeks through the Arrow and on this webpage, so that the people of St. Giles are well versed as they make their decisions regarding volunteer, financial and prayerful participation. In addition, we will share the details of the funding priorities for our campus buildings which are currently being finalized.
What exactly is To Teach Who Christ Is? It is a capital and endowment campaign, originally spearheaded by Francis Cardinal George, to raise a minimum of $350 million in gifts and pledges for parishes, faith formation, scholarships to Catholic schools, and critical facility issues. Priorities of the campaign were identified in a comprehensive Case, which included input from administrators, educators, pastors and staff. The campaign’s fundraising goals have been outlined as:
Scholarships − $150 million allocated for scholarships will generate millions of dollars annually for new and continuing needs-based scholarships.
Program Enhancements for Catholic Schools − $8 million of direct cash infusion will ensure academic excellence.
Strengthening Religious Education Programs − $10 million will support Religious Education programs.
“Next Generation” Religious Education − $2 million will develop and pilot new approaches to religious education and faith formation.
Capital Needs − $30 million will address specific capital needs in Catholic schools and related parish facilities.
Parish Needs − $150 million will address parish-specific needs through the parish-based portion of the campaign. This number reflects a total parish-based campaign goal of $250 million, of which 60 percent ($150 million) will remain at the parishes for their needs and 40 percent ($100 million) will come to the Archdiocese to meet parish needs.
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., chose the theme because of its significance to his order, his vision of our Archdiocese and the spirit of the campaign. To Teach Who Christ Is comes from the writings of St. Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who sought to teach “who Jesus Christ is.” At St. Eugene’s canonization, Pope John Paul II reflected that he was “a man of Advent, a man of the Coming. He not only looked forward to that Coming, he dedicated his whole life to preparing for it, one of those apostles who prepared the modern age, our age.”