By Christie L. Chicoine

CS&T Staff Writer

NORRISTOWN – When Dan and Michelle Haley of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Norristown were asked to contribute $5,000 a year for the next five years to the archdiocesan capital and endowment campaign, “Heritage of Faith, Vision of Hope,” the couple had conflicting reactions.

Dan didn’t hesitate. Michelle, however, was initially reluctant. “I was blown away by his sense of confidence and peace,” she said of her husband’s reaction. He said, ‘God has blessed us. If we’re being called to do this, we’ll find a way.'”{{more}}

They prayed about it, then agreed to give. Shortly afterward, the Haleys received an unexpected check for $25,000 from the estate of Michelle’s late great-uncle, whom she had not seen since childhood.

“I don’t believe in coincidences; I do believe in God-incidences,” Michelle said.

“God was giving me a greater lesson in this,” she said. “I was always ready to give of time and talent, but then I recognized it’s time, talent and treasure.”

Added Dan: “We’ve been blessed. Did I take a deep breath first? Of course.”

Dan said although he is one who typically takes time to analyze and assess a situation, he was on board with the campaign when it was first broached at a meeting of the parish pastoral council, of which he is a member.

The Haleys also agreed to serve on the campaign core team: Michelle, 37, as the general chair and secretary; Dan, 36, as the major gifts chair.

Since it began the campaign this past January, St. Teresa of Avila Parish has raised more than $1.03 million, exceeding its goal of $825,000.

“It’s just a testament to the power of faith, the power of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit,” Michelle said. The campaign “really enriched the power of community and fellowship at St. Teresa of Avila,” she said.

The Haleys acknowledged St. Teresa’s pastor, Msgr. Andrew J. Golias, and the parish’s campaign core team.

According to its campaign case statement, St. Teresa Parish plans to maintain the present facilities, renovate and expand the church, resurface the parking lot and eventually build a parish center.

Assisting with the campaign has not been without its challenges for the Haleys. For five weeks of the campaign, Dan was overseas on business – in Belgium, Brazil, China and Japan.

Meanwhile, Michelle continued working on the campaign while juggling care of their two children, daughter Mackenzie, 4, and son Dylan, 2; volunteering her time as an ambassador for a national foundation that funds pediatric cancer research; and, as needed, assisting her twin sister Jennifer Grimmer with whom she co-owns a pre-school as a silent partner. (Jennifer Grimmer and husband Will are also members of the parish’s campaign core team.)

The family also made time to visit Michelle’s now-deceased maternal grandmother, Mildred Passarella of St. Jude Parish in Chalfont, Bucks County. At the time of the campaign, Passarella was a hospice patient who was bedridden at home.

“The bottom line is, we’re called not to use anything in our lives as a crutch,” Michelle said. “Christ lives in our hearts and He calls us all to love one another as a community in faith.”

Msgr. Golias praised the Haleys for their commitment to the campaign. “When you want something really done well, you ask people who are busy,” he said. “The energy they brought to the campaign was absolutely incredible.”

The pastor is delighted his “small but mighty” parish has exceeded its goal. St. Teresa of Avila has 1,250 registered families, more than 4,000 registered inspaniduals.

“What you know is there in your people really comes forth in very dramatic ways,” he said. “This was certainly a very vivid example of who the people of St. Teresa’s are all the time, but they really came through in a remarkable way.”

The Church of Philadelphia is conducting a $200 million capital and endowment campaign to support the charitable, educational and pastoral needs of the Archdiocese as it begins its third century.

All 267 parishes of the Archdiocese participate in the campaign on a track schedule in four-month increments.

The fourth and final track of parishes began embarking on the endeavor in January.

The second tier of the Track 4 parishes begins organizational, planning and leadership meetings this month, will announce the campaign within their communities after Labor Day, Sept. 6, and conclude by Christmas, Dec. 25.

In September 2008, 12 of the 267 parishes tested the campaign in a pilot phase. From poorer parishes to more affluent parishes, all six vicariates were represented in a cross-section of the Archdiocese.

In January 2009 the first track of parishes officially embarked on the endeavor. The second, third and now fourth tracks followed.

For more information, including how to contribute to the campaign online, visit the web site or call the campaign office at or 610-896-7312 or 215-587-3654.

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