Throughout the course of the Forward in Faith Campaign, certain questions have been presented to campaign staff on a regular basis by campaign volunteers, donors, parish leaders and staff.  To assist in sharing information and promoting transparency, the most frequently asked questions and answers about the Forward in Faith Campaign are provided below:

Can I make a pledge or gift online?

Yes. Click here to connect to our online giving page.

How are individual parish targets being determined?

The overall goal of Forward in Faith is $50 million. The Leadership Gift Phase, currently being conducted by Bishop Lynch, is expected to generate $5 million, and $45 million is expected to be raised among the parishes. Individual parish targets are set by a pro rata percentage share of the parish’s 2012 regular ordinary income against the entire diocesan offertory.

What is parish share?

Parishes will receive 20% of the funds collected up to the parish target. Should a parish exceed its target, the share formula will flip and 80% of the funds collected above the target will go to the parish and 20% will go back to the diocese. If a parish reaches two times its target or more, 100% of the funds collected above 200% of the target will stay with the parish. The following chart illustrates this split:

Is there a certain order for case element funding?

Yes. Three items in the case must be satisfied before the other elements are addressed.  These are:

  1. The construction and renovation of the two designated schools
  2. The diocesan commitment to the seminary
  3. The costs associated with conducting the campaign

Will any campaign donations be used for items other than the established case elements?

No. The Diocese has both a legal and moral obligation to restrict these funds for the Forward in Faith diocesan case elements.  The funds raised for the campaign will be used exclusively for the named case elements.

Is the money raised through Forward in Faith assessable?


Our goal for the Annual Pastoral Appeal is set based on our assessment, or Cathedraticum, for the year. If we don’t raise funds for the annual appeal, we pay it out of parish income. If we do not reach our goal for Forward in Faith, do we have to pay it?

No. Forward in Faith is a good faith effort, and parishes will not be assessed if they do not hit goal.

If we don’t hit goal, do we still receive our parish share (20 cents of every dollar raised)?

Yes.  Parishes will receive 20 cents on every dollar raised whether they reach goal or not.

Doesn’t APA (Annual Pastoral Appeal) already pay for these items?

APA does provide some funding for each of these major categories, but it does not cover all of the identified need for tuition assistance, nor does it fund the construction at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary or the two new diocesan schools. It funds our seminarian living and education costs today, but will not cover the additional cost our growing seminarian group in the future. It takes care of the extra support costs of our current retired priests, but won’t cover the projected increase in health care costs for our increasing retired priest population. It also does not fund 20 cents on every dollar raised for each parish. In the APA, parishes receive funds after they exceed goal. All of these reasons demonstrate how the two are different.

Click here to download a side by side comparison of APA and Forward in Faith.

When will the funds be allocated to the parishes?

While the three items above must be addressed first, Bishop Lynch is committed to each parish receiving its full parish share portion by the end of the redemption period. Once the three items are funded, the Diocese will begin proportionately depositing share funds into a savings and loan account for each according to the established formula.

What are the current levels of support for tuition assistance and what are the sources?

Tuition Assistance SourcesAmount ProvidedNumber of Students Assisted
Step Up (State Funds)$3.9 million1,219
Catholic Schools Tuition Aid Grant$850,000 ($240,000 from APA, $610,000 from diocesan endowed funds)533
Catholic Foundation$400,000-$500,000/year (Bridge Program (Riley Foundation + other major donor gifts),
Match Grant Program, High School, Tuition Assistance, Endowed Funds Assistance, and
private scholarships)
McKay – Special Education (State Funds)$1.3 million for special needs students227
Total$6.45 million2,385

Does the $18 mil in tuition assistance help those families that are sort of in the middle? Say family of 4 who makes $100,000 per year so in turn doesn’t qualify for assistance but still can’t afford Catholic schools?

Current diocesan tuition assistance is based on the same set of criteria for all applicants and the findings of the FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment process/program – the gross income levels set up apply across the board and are based on number of dependents and income level.    The plan for the new funds raised is to utilize same process for tuition assistance evaluation and distribution.

How do the new funds raised through the campaign fit in?

More needs to be done to keep tuition affordable.  The $18 million from the campaign will be a new source of funds – invested and administered with the Catholic Foundation, and new tuition assistance dollars of about $750,000 each year from the interest earned on the investments.  The funds will not be endowed, but the goal is to not touch the corpus (base deposit) and only use the investment earnings.

What families can apply for the new $18 million?

The new funds raised through the campaign will be invested, and tuition assistance will be generated from interest earnings.  The funds will be distributed in the same manner current tuition assistance dollars are distributed – need is assessed through the FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment. Any family can apply.  Criteria and are specified on the Catholic education website.

What happens to Most Holy Redeemer now that Mother Teresa of Calcutta is being built? Will it be torn down or will it be used by Morning Star or the parish?

The school property still belongs to the parish.  The parish has been asked to work with parish leadership and present their idea for use of the building to the Bishop.  Their planning process has just started, therefore we don’t know what will be done with the building.

Why isn’t religious education and formation a part of this? Isn’t that important too?

Religious education and formation is very important.  However, Bishop Lynch and the priests of this diocese made a commitment to saving and growing our Catholic school, and to continue moving things forward this campaign does focus on these two key parts: tuition assistance and construction at two regional schools.  It does not mean religious education does not receive current funding from the Annual Pastoral Appeal or future funding in campaign efforts.

Why these two schools only?

Today, it is difficult for any one parish to fully support a parish school.  While we have some success stories in our diocese, moving to a true diocesan Catholic school system means we must think of our schools as part of a whole.  Forward in Faith will empower us to enact improvement and change together for these two schools – one is the oldest in our diocese and the other will be our newest and positively address changing demographics.  Both of these schools create great impact on regional levels.

What are the current levels of support for seminarians and what are the sources?

We currently support our seminarians through donations to the Annual Pastoral Appeal, as well as foundation grants.  Any financial support for our retired clergy would also come from the Annual Pastoral Appeal.   We currently pay over $60,000 per seminarian per year, which covers room, board, books, and living expenses including insurance (health and car), and a stipend.

Are we the only ones paying for the construction at the seminary?

As part of a joint effort with all seven dioceses of Florida, the Diocese of St. Petersburg will dedicate $5 million generated from Forward in Faith to much-needed renovations to the 50-year-old St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and will also establish an endowment to maintain the buildings and grounds once renovation is completed.

What is the total cost for construction at the seminary?

While the entire building and endowment project will cost $25 million ($8 million for construction, and $17 million for the maintenance endowment), the Diocese of St. Petersburg has committed $5 million generated from Forward in Faith.    The $5 million will be split roughly in half to fund both parts of the project.

What is being done to protect donations?

Gifts to the campaign will be deposited into the Catholic Formation Corporation, a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized, charged with receiving contributions intended to benefit supported programs, ministries, and outreach, and managing and distributing such contributions for the benefit of supported activities.  This provides an additional layer of protection for donations to this campaign.

What are the methods of payment accepted?

  • Cash
  • Check
  • All 4 major credit cards
  • Stock
  • Real property

Are pledges legally binding?

It is important to note that pledges are not legally binding but rather a statement of what you intend to do.

How much will it cost to conduct the campaign?

The expenses for the campaign are based on bids and a flat fee, which do not go up or down depending on the total amount raised.  Costs include professional fundraising counsel, travel to every parish throughout the course of the campaign, and the production and distribution of materials to all registered households. The Diocese projects the campaign to approximately $3 million, which is estimated at 6% or less of the potential campaign goal. This is well below the cost of many fundraising efforts, which often exceed 10% of their overall goal.

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