By Jerry Mallmann
A few weeks ago, I read a booklet called “A Short History of Calumet County and Its Communities.” I’d like to share a few things that I learned.
The first non-Native American settlers started arriving and establishing settlements around the country side in the late 1840’s. Soon we saw communities spring up with names of Chilton, Hayton, Charlesburg, and Brothertown, just to name a few.
The settlers in these towns came from various ethnic backgrounds – German, Irish, Austrian and Prussian. Some came from Eastern parts of the U.S. Some came here directly from their mother countries in Europe. As you traveled from village to village you may have found many differences among the people, but there was one thing that every one of these people had in common – they all came from somewhere else to settle here.
For whatever reason, they packed up their families, left their homes in search of a new and better life. They built homes for their families. They built schools and churches. They came together as community.
They did all of this not just for themselves for the day – they also felt the need to lay a strong foundation for the future, the future of their children, their grandchildren, and of course their entire community.
But here’s the thing – just because they were moving forward into a new chapter in life didn’t mean that they had to leave the old chapter behind. They didn’t forget who they were or where they come from. The proud heritage they shared would still exist in their hearts forever.
Each one of us, at some point in time, has come from somewhere else, and settled here at Good Shepherd. Some of you may have just recently moved your families from other communities and have made Good Shepherd your home. Many of us are here today because the Parish we grew up in, sadly, no longer exists.
Regardless what brought us here today, we all have the opportunity to do the same thing that our parents and Grandparents did for us. We have the opportunity to come together as a community, roll up our sleeves, and help to rebuild the foundation of our Catholic Community.
Together, regardless of what brought us here, we have the opportunity to move forward into the future as a new and vibrant Parish. And we can all do this without forgetting where we came from.
So where do we begin?
First and foremost, let’s pray, pray for God’s guidance and wisdom, pray for our priests and our deacons, and we need to pray for each other.
Secondly, the reason for our Appeal. Don’t we need to have a church home that helps us grow together as a faith community, a home that we all can be proud of? Don’t we need to maintain God’s house?
Within the last week each of you should have received a packet in the mail. Inside you’ll find a booklet that outlines the history of this campaign from its conception to where we are now. It discusses campaign goals and how we hope to achieve them. It lists all the work that was deemed necessary or desirable through discussions with professional contractors and Parish members. This project list was then prioritized by level of importance, beginning with the most important repairs on the exterior of the building, then moving to the refurbishing of the interior of the Church.
The total project cost is just over $2,000,000. There is no question that this a lot of money.
Through the generosity of several members of the Parish, we have already received pledges and donations of $543,000 that are available for this project, so we have a strong start. But to insure that we reach our goal, I’m asking each of you to consider how you can help.
Also in your packet, you’ll find a blue and white commitment form. October 21st and 22nd is our Invitation to Commit weekend. We encourage you to turn in your completed commitment forms at that time.
There are multiple ways that you can support this three-year commitment appeal. You can do an up-front gift by submitting a payment with your commitment form. You can spread your commitment over three years with payments annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly, whichever works best for your budget.
You might consider giving assets such as stock, bonds, annuities, property, etc.
As we all prayerfully consider how we might commit to this campaign, I want to stress that this can only be done if we all work together as one. We know that everyone’s gift will be different. That’s OK. The Bible talks about “equal sacrifice” NOT “equal gifts.”
No matter where we came from or what brought us here today, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for us roll up our sleeves, work together, and plan for the future of OUR Parish?
Thank you and May God Bless our Parish!