The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland took much care in shaping its Rooted in Faith — Forward in Hope campaign. Church leaders understood the turbulence, the abuse scandal haunting the larger church, the divisions among the faithful, the clashes close to home when Bishop Richard Lennon moved to consolidate parishes.
So, for instance, an early goal of raising $250 million was scaled back to $125 million. Priorities were narrowed and sharpened. The hard work of evaluation has proved worthwhile. The diocese announced this week that it has exceeded its fund-raising objective, receiving donations or commitments from 45,000 people, totaling $171 million.
That translates into such benefits as a larger endowment for providing tuition assistance to students attending its schools, repairs and renovations to churches and other buildings, and support for the clergy and outreach in the diocese.
Hard to overstate the importance of parishes in many urban neighborhoods, helping to retain vitality and the quality of life. In that way, all of us benefit from the diocese investing additional resources. The many donors have affirmed the core mission of the church in communities, no matter the differences that pull and tug.
In taking care with the campaign, the diocese also made a commitment to accountability, an oversight committee formed to ensure that the money is spent well and as promised. That process invites stronger lines of communication, an opportunity for the diocese to build on the bonds reinforced in the campaign and that are so important to the future of the church.