It’s my privilege to bring to a conclusion our 3 weekends of our annual Fall FAITH AND FOUNDATION campaign. As I look out in the congregation this evening, I can see that you represent a cross section of our Parish – many have been Parishioners at St Augustine’s for a long time, and will be familiar with Faith and Foundation; some are recently registered, some are visiting and may not know our long and wonderful history with Catholic Education here at St. Augustine’s.
Over 100 years ago, when Catholic schools were opened across Canada, it was because of the vocation of religious sisters that parishes were blessed with Religious sisters, such as the Sisters of St. Ann. These visionary women of the Church started teaching in our first school in 1911 – and as a congregation, they have remained prayerfully faithful and financially generous to our Parish in these past years, as the Sisters of St. Ann have made significant donations to help us build and complete our school.
Back in 2000, our then Pastor, Father John Brioux demonstrated immense courage and hope when he approved our Parish developing a plan to build a brand new school... and over the course of 18 years,
St. Augustine’s has been blessed with determination, generosity and faithfulness – and we thank Father for his vision and hope.
Because of our responsibility to the Parish, we are coming before you again this Fall to ask that every family or individual who claims St. Augustine’s as their “PARISH” join their good intentions to a financial pledge to help us pay down our 3.5 million dollar debt.
I know that debt is not exciting or easy to ask you to support – so over the past 3 weekends our Fall Campaign has focused on informing our parishioners of our School’s story - through publishing of our quarterly NEWSLETTER with a detailed financial statement and compelling stories - we introduced you to our Grade 7 students in our Campaign video, and we're concluding with testimonials today which seek to ask you what you might do to help us.
Our little Catholic School is no longer little, our Church is brim-filled with young families, and St. Augustine’s has a reputation as an exceptional Parish Catholic elementary School.
2 little stories poignantly capture for me who we are and why we exist: First, a kindy parent who met me on the sidewalk in the year of our building project and said: “Mrs. Oberndorf, I thought we were looking for a school for our child. What we found was an joyful, family centred and passionate group of like-minded parents who wanted their children raised in the Catholic Faith, just like us.”
I can vividly remember his delight in what he’d come to discover it meant to belong to St. Augustine’s!
5 years ago a staff member experienced a catastrophic stroke at our morning prayer table, which lead to a diagnosis of a terminal brain tumour. Over the course of the following 15 months, we in our school embraced the blessing and challenge of walking alongside her and her family ... We LIVED our faith – Our families were witnesses to what Jesus asks of each of us – LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Our gratitude for what our Parish has done for our children and their families is immense. Thank you to each and every one of you who has in the past supported our Campaign.
Tonight, I am asking you to personally pledge to this year’s campaign. We have a $500,000 goal and already 77% of our school parents have pledged the suggested $1250 per family with one child.
Last year – 96% of our families, themselves almost all parishioners, met our goal.
As of today, our fall campaign has raised $277,000.
We really need the help of the balance of our Parish ... I was privileged to lead St. Augustines as principal for 27 years, and now as the ‘former’ principal I remain fully committed to completing the work begun by the Sisters 107 years ago... in my prayers, in my time and talent and through annual, sacrificial giving.
When I look at the children and families in our school, and know of their goodness, love of their faith and dedication to our Parish, I really know that every effort I make IN THEIR name, reaps rewards that are beyond paying off a debt... I know that Jesus LOVES the work and dedication of this parish and I implore you to join with us .
Won’t you join this amazing Parish effort with your own gift to Faith and Foundation?
Remember, belonging comes with many blessings, and one of those is choosing to financially support our Parish in its efforts – When we all work together, the burden is so much lighter.