By Christie L. Chicoine

CS&T Staff Writer

From Southwest Philadelphia to Southampton, “Heritage of Faith – Vision of Hope” is strengthening bonds between pastors and parishioners for the benefit of future Catholics.

St. Barnabas Parish in Southwest Philadelphia, one of 12 pilot parishes that conducted the campaign last September through December, has exceeded its pledge goal by more than 100 percent. At press time, the parish had raised $457,000; its goal was $335,000.

“The people of St. Barnabas have always loved their Church,” Father Babowitch said of his parish’s 800 registered families. “Our people are not rich people,” but they are dedicated to their parish and the Archdiocese.

With its share of the campaign money, St. Barnabas plans to update the parish’s physical plant by replacing the church roof, refurbishing the church’s stained glass windows and repointing the brick of the convent.

“For me as a pastor, to be at St. Barnabas is a blessing because of the generosity of our people and their dedication to St. Barnabas and the Archdiocese,” Father Babowitch said.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Southampton, Bucks County, another pilot parish, has also exceeded its goal by more than 100 percent. At press time, the parish had raised more than $1.6 million in pledges; its goal was $1.47 million.

“I was ecstatic,” said Father Anthony J. D’Angelico, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel. “It truly brought out the faith and generosity of my people.

“As has been their tradition here,” the 3,600 registered families proved “a real willingness to support their pastor in what he is called upon to do,” Father D’Angelico continued.

“The campaign can be a great sign of your relationship as a pastor with your people.”

Father D’Angelico credits the parish’s campaign case statement as the catalyst for a successful response from his parishioners.

The case statement calls for two underground water retention basins, the replacement of three air-conditioning compressors in the church and the repavement of the church’s parking lot.

The parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel also realized the importance of the diocese’s case statement, the pastor said.

Father D’Angelico is confident that the difficult economic times of 2009 will not deter Catholics’ ongoing commitment to the campaign. “The people, by their strong faith, realize that no matter what times we’re in, the mission of Christ has to be accomplished in and through the Church.”

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or