Just one month ago the diocese was $120,000 short of the $500,000 it needed to raise in order to receive a $2 million grant from the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation. The combined $2.5 million is to be used to fund a tuition assistance program designed to help children from poor families attend Catholic schools.
Now the diocese is reporting that it has exceeded its goal by more than $20,000, which means that over $140,000 in donations have come in within the last month.
Combining the dollar amounts reported in previous stories with those just published, it appears that private donors have thus far contributed almost $369,000 to the effort, while average parishioners in the pews have donated over $151,000. One month ago those numbers were $320,000 and $60,000, respectively.
The Catholic Courier article goes on to say that
Diocesan officials first answered this challenge by holding a series of receptions for potential donors. During these receptions, held at private homes, Sister [Janice] Morgan gave presentations outlining the need for such scholarship funds for needy children, especially those from the inner city ...
These gatherings also gave diocesan officials a chance to meet with parishioners, listen to their stories and hear their thoughts about Catholic education in the Diocese of Rochester. Sister Morgan said she thinks this helped promote healing in the wake of last year's closing of 13 Catholic schools in Monroe County.
I strongly doubt that many parishioners of average means found an invite to one of these receptions in their mailboxes. Certainly no one at my parish has mentioned receiving one.
I know of several folks who would have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet with diocesan officials, tell their stores and relate their thoughts about Catholic education in the diocese. However, I suspect that none of them was in a tax bracket sufficiently high to warrant such access.
But it's still a good thing, I suppose, that the diocese seeks to promote healing among some of our better-off brethren.
Now what about the rest of us?