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Dear friends,
The Archdiocese is in the middle of a major capital campaign, the Called to Serve as Christ Campaign. The goal is to raise $100 million to support the retirement and medical needs of our priests and sisters—who are part of our family of faith. Of that $100 million, the Cathedral has been asked to raise $3.2 million.

I’m happy to tell you that thanks to the generosity of nearly 300 of our parishioners, we’ve already raised $2.8 million of the $3.2. This is quite amazing!  But we do have just under $400,000 to go.
And here’s some more good news. To help us raise the remainder, a very generous parishioner has recently stepped forward with a $50,000 challenge grant. He will match—that is, double!—every gift that comes in, until we reach that $50,000. I’m hoping the thought that your gift will be doubled will be all the incentive you need to make your gift now! 

In making your commitment, I’d invite you to think about a monthly donation over a three year period (which is what I’m doing myself!). For example, a gift of $100 a month would be a donation to the campaign of $3,600; a gift of $28 a month would be $1,000.

I hope the Q&A below will be helpful. Let me close by thanking all of you who have already contributed to the campaign and expressing my gratitude to all of you who will!
Father Michael G. Ryan

Why a campaign?

The Archdiocese of Seattle has an obligation to provide for the ongoing medical and retirement needs of its priests and women religious who have committed a lifetime of service to the church.

What will the campaign accomplish?

The campaign will establish long-term funding for the medical needs of senior priests and will provide them with a stable, modest retirement. It will also significantly increase the ability of communities of women religious to care for their senior sisters and allow active sisters to continue their ministry in the Church. It will also return a small portion of each gift (15%) to each parish for its own needs.

What is the goal for the campaign?

The overall goal for the campaign is $100 million. The goal for St. James Cathedral is $3.2 million. Parish goals are based on 1.25 times the average annual offertory over three previous years at a parish. This is a goal, not a mandate. Parishes will not be billed for the difference if they do not achieve their goal.

Why now?

We need this campaign because the funding model (pay-as-you-go) was never adequate and was flawed from the time it was first established in the  1960’s. That model worked when there was a large number of active priests paying into the plan, and only a relatively small number receiving benefits. Now, with the severe shortage of priests in active ministry—and a large and growing number of retired priests who are living longer—the pay-as-you-go model no longer works. As a result, parishes (you!) are having to pay more and more into these plans each year through increased billings and through the Annual Catholic Appeal.
The campaign will also raise funds for women religious, who have played a crucial role in the history of our Church’s mission in Western Washington and continue to. Because these sisters served for decades in our schools, hospitals, and parishes with almost no compensation, the campaign will raise funds to recognize, acknowledge and thank them for their sacrifice and service.

What about the timing?

Many have asked why we are going ahead with the campaign in the midst of the revelations that are appearing in the news these days. Archbishop Sartain has decided to go forward with it because he is aware how urgent the need is, and believes people will be grateful for the opportunity to express their support for the vast majority of faithful priests and sisters who have given, and continue to give, generous service in our parishes. There is still a great deal to celebrate and be grateful for. The Archbishop is also confident about the transparency and accountability of the campaign itself and the handling of the funds that are donated.

How is this different from the Annual Catholic Appeal?

The Annual Catholic Appeal funds the annual, ongoing needs of the archdiocese. The Called to Serve as Christ campaign is an extraordinary effort and seeks gifts beyond the Appeal and parish giving.
How much money is going to the Archdiocese?

None of the campaign money is going to fund Archdiocese of Seattle operations and administration. All campaign funds will be put toward the needs and priorities identified in the campaign case statement. The Archdiocese of Seattle has created a separate, non-profit entity to ensure accountability. This entity is served by a board of priests, women religious, and laity appointed by Archbishop Sartain.

What assurance can the Archdiocese of Seattle give to donors that no funds from the campaign will be used to pay future settlements in abuse cases?

The campaign has been established as a separate Washington State non-profit corporation whose funds can only be used for the purposes designated in the campaign. The campaign corporation will undergo annual independent audits to assure it is conforming with all legal and ethical requirements. In addition, the Priest Pension Plan is a qualified pension plan whose funds can only be used to pay pension benefits and whose financial statements are subject to an annual audit by an independent certified public accounting firm.

Will a priest who is found to have a credible allegation of abuse made against him be able to retire and draw a pension benefit from the Priest Pension Plan?

Under Federal law, vested participants in a qualified retirement plan cannot be deprived of their retirement benefits. However, pension benefits for those few individuals who have been found to have a credible allegation of abuse are paid from a separate entity than the Priests’ Pension Plan and will not benefit from this Campaign.

What about the Health Plan?  Will an abuser be able to obtain benefits from this plan?

Priests removed from the priesthood (laicized) due to a credible allegation of abuse, receive no medical benefits from the Priest Health Plan. Priests removed from ministry due to a credible allegation of abuse and ordered to a life of permanent prayer and penance continue to be covered by the Priest Health Plan, but all costs associated with their coverage are reimbursed from another source so the proceeds of the campaign will not fund any health care costs for these priests.

Where did the amount of my “ask” come from?

Obviously, coming up with an “ask” is an inexact science. The amount of the “ask” is based on your past generosity to the parish and to the Archdiocese, as well as on the amount the Archdiocese needs to raise. But the Archbishop, of course, has no way of knowing your particular circumstances or commitments and it’s possible the amount he is asking for is wide of the mark. So if he has asked for too much, we hope you won’t feel too put out, (and if he hasn’t asked for enough, feel free to make any adjustments you see fit…!).

We are counting on your support!

Archbishop Sartain is asking each of us to give our generous support to the Called to Serve as Christ campaign. We have each been blessed by the ministry of priests and sisters. This campaign is our opportunity to say thank you and to give back to those who have given us so much.

For more information


Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303