Newton, Halstead parishes join forces to meet needs of Catholic school, church

NEWTON – For nearly 130 years, St. Mary Catholic School has served the parishes of St. Mary’s and Our Lady of Guadalupe, both in Newton, and Sacred Heart parish in Halstead. The school has flourished by offering students a Catholic learning environment in which students are challenged to maximum growth in all facets of their lives – spiritually, academically, emotionally and physically.
Although the spirit of St. Mary’s school has withstood the test of time, the school’s facilities haven’t been as resilient. That is why this November parishioners from St. Mary’s, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Sacred Heart parishes launched the “Carrying on the Faith” capital campaign.
The goals of the campaign are to raise enough money to complete the renovation of St. Mary Catholic School, as well as replace the deteriorating roof at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. It will cost just over $1 million to complete both projects.
“The completion of these projects will result in new classrooms and a much needed new church roof, but the bigger blessing is the joint effort of the three parishes in coming together for a common cause.” Philip Stutey, principal of St. Mary said, “Just as past generations have sacrificed, it is now our time to step up and provide for the future leaders of our church.”
More than 60 volunteers are working to secure pledges for the tri-parish campaign with the help of the Steier Group, a fundraising and development firm based in Omaha, Neb. Thanks to a corporate benefactor, the campaign is off to a tremendous start. Wray Roofing, a local roofing company, recently approached the three parishes with a charitable challenge gift – if campaign volunteers can secure donations of $1,000 or more from at least 80 previous non-donors, Wray Roofing will donate the time, labor, and costs associated with replacing the Our Lady of Guadalupe parish roof. This generosity has inspired a flurry of activity from parishioners, with 37 of the 80 new-donor gifts already secured!
Now in just its third week of active solicitations, the “Carrying on the Faith” campaign has raised $402,309, almost 40 percent of the total campaign goal. “It’s inspiring to see that, even though we’re not in the best of economic times, people are still giving to support the church.” Vern Koch, campaign general chair said. “We just laid out the needs facing our church and school, and the people have responded with enthusiasm and generosity.”
The “Carrying on the Faith” campaign will wrap up in January, and construction on the school and church are expected to begin in early to mid 2010.