To appreciate the past and take a long view ahead, there’s no time like the present. That is the goal of Heritage of Faith – Vision of Hope, the capital and endowment campaign that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces via a press conference led by Cardinal Rigali next Monday and through his letter to all parishioners at Masses this weekend.

The campaign’s monetary goal of $200 million is set in the context of the Archdiocese’s wider goal: to continue to serve the people of God now and in the future, as it has for more than 200 years.

The specific objectives of the campaign are outlined in detail within this issue of The Catholic Standard & Times. They include brick-and-mortar capital projects such as those at parishes. The other aspect of Heritage of Faith – Vision of Hope is the establishment of endowments for specific long-term needs. Unlike one-time capital improvements, endowments are investments that grow over time and yield returns for many years to come.

One objective of the campaign illustrates this two-fold vision. The campaign sets a goal of $3 million for a capital infusion to Catholic Human Services, the archdiocesan entity that encompasses Catholic health care and social services of every kind. A further $7 million goal would establish an endowment to support these vital human services of the Church far into the future.

The aim of the campaign is high, especially striking during these uncertain economic times. Some will no doubt ask, “Why now?”

Nineteen years ago the same question may have arisen. In 1990-91, the Archdiocese launched Catholic Life 2000 at the beginning of an economic downturn. That campaign surpassed its pledge goal of $100 million. The money collected continues to support parishes today, including those that have difficulty meeting their financial obligations.

Besides the ever-present needs identified by Heritage of Faith – Vision of Hope as essential in the life of the Archdiocese (such as the Cathedral and the Seminary), the challenges for families today are met by Church resources at the parish level, by Catholic schools and by institutions of the Archdiocese.

Today’s turmoil acts as a lens to focus attention on these gifts from yesteryear that have been built and carefully conserved as a gift to us today. They stand as a challenge for this generation of Catholics to support and fortify them so that the Church, in various ways, may serve the people of God ever more effectively. This multi-faceted effort is undertaken now with confidence and hope, all for the greater glory of God among His people in this Archdiocese.