By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

Father Joseph C. Bordonaro, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Warrington, Bucks County, said he was “blown away” by the response of his parishioners during the Dec. 11-12, 2010 commitment weekend of the archdiocesan capital and endowment campaign, “Heritage of Faith, Vision of Hope.”

The parish has exceeded its goal by 115 percent, raising, to date, a total of $848,854 in gifts and pledges.

“The people themselves are very grateful to God for all of His blessings and that reflects in their generosity,” said Father Bordonaro. “They love this church.”

Despite the difficult economic times, the people were eager to be a part of the campaign, Father Bordonaro said. “They feel so committed” to St. Joseph Parish. {{more}}

Before commitment weekend, the parish was at 50 percent of its $740,000 goal.

On commitment weekend alone, the parish raised approximately $317,000 at the five weekend Masses – a Saturday vigil and four Sunday Masses.

After the 5:30 p.m. vigil Mass on Saturday, the parish raised $43,000. The 7 a.m. Mass on Sunday brought in $44,000; the 8:30 a.m. Mass, $70,000; the 10 a.m. Mass, $90,000 and the 11:30 a.m. Mass, $70,000.

Through its campaign case statement, the parish outlined three goals: renovate the church sanctuary, which includes moving the tabernacle from a side altar to behind the main altar; paint the church’s interior and establish a capital improvement fund.

Father Bordonaro passed the unique test of spearheading a campaign after arriving at his first pastorate just three months before the post-Labor Day launch.

“It’s very exciting and humbling at the same time,” he said.

“Not knowing the people when I first came here – I’ve only been here six months – it was a challenge but the people really worked hard and I’m very grateful for their participation and their sacrifice, especially in these difficult times.”

Although the capital campaign officially ended Dec. 25, 2010, returns continue to be collected across the Archdiocese.

Old St. Joseph Parish in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia has exceeded its goal by 120 percent, raising to date $708,000 on a goal of $590,000.

Under the direction of the pastor, Jesuit Father Daniel M. Ruff, the campaign began after Labor Day of 2010.

The secret to the campaign’s success, according to general chairman John Trumbore, was “a classic case of pure collaboration … among the pastor, the executive committee and the volunteers. It was a grace-filled experience for all of us to work together and to call on our parishioners.”

The response was equally overwhelming “in terms of the kindness of people,” Trumbore added. “Parishioners would come up to us when we were reporting our progress and they were happy and pleased that we were doing well. They wanted the parish to do well.

“Everyone feels that we really have touched the soul of the parish in that way.”

The campaign case statement of Old St. Joseph’s calls for replacing the parish elevator, building a barrier-free access to the church hall, replacing and improving the church’s sound system, re-carpeting the church and providing maintenance to the Skinner organ.

According to the general chairman, the campaign committee conducted the appeal with a demeanor that demonstrated consideration toward all: “no contest, no quotas,” among the members or parish volunteers.

One parishioner, who lives solely on a Social Security income, gave $50. Such a contribution touches the heart, Trumbore said.

Another parishioner, whose income is significantly more substantial, pledged a selfless $50,000.

The bottom line, Trumbore explained, is that each penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar adds to the greater good of the campaign. All monetary denominations demonstrate the parishioners’ love for their parish.

In February 2009, Cardinal Justin Rigali announced that the Church of Philadelphia had begun a $200 million capital and endowment campaign to support the charitable, educational and pastoral needs of the Archdiocese.

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

To date, the campaign has raised $220,639,783 in gifts and pledges.

For more information, access the web site or call 610-896-7312 or 215-587-3654.

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