March 13, 2012

Changing Lives in Farmington


Our Lady of Sorrows Parish

Our Lady of Sorrows Church

Parish leaders at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington weren’t timid when they decided with their pastor, Rev. Mark Brauer, to begin changing lives. Working with the entire worship community, they began with plans to erase the parish debt, establish an endowment fund for the parish school, provide the faithful with safe and comfortable pews, and make several other upgrades to the 19-acre parish and school campus. Parishioners were not timid in responding to the ambitious plan, pledging more than $1.9 million toward the parish campaign that began last October.

“We’re continuing to receive five or six new pledges each week,” said James Nordbeck, business administrator and Changing Lives Together involvement team leader at Sorrows. The parish set its $2.35 million goal for Changing Lives higher than the archdiocesan target for the parish of $1.6 million. “We saw Changing Lives Together as a great opportunity to help fulfill our parish plan, tackle our debt from a late 1990’s building campaign, and to get done what we really need to get done for the church and school,” said Nordbeck.

A campaign video on the parish website home page has helped prompt about one third of the more than 3,000 registered households at Our Lady of Sorrows to make pledges to the initiative. “We have a very strong member base,” explained Nordbeck. “They are very faithful people, who really value their faith, the parish, and our plan for the future.” More than 750 children are enrolled in the Sorrows school in grades pre-K through 8.

Our Lady of Sorrows CLT Leadership Team

The Changing Lives Together leadership team at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington.

A key element in parishioner response at Sorrows was in visualizing how their pledges would be put to use. “The pews, school windows, school scholarships, and facility improvements are tangible, readily apparent goals,” observed Nordbeck. “Our goals were bolstered by dynamic leadership from our pastor and the parish campaign managers, all of whom spoke frequently at weekend Masses.”

Prayer, song, and parishioner-to-parishioner phone calls have also led to changed lives at Sorrows. Two parishioners wrote a prayer for the Changing Lives Together initiative and an associate music minister put the words to music. The hymn, entitled, “Changing Lives Together – Prayer” was sung at each Mass throughout the initiative. “The hymn was another reminder that this important stewardship effort will allow our parish, along with all the parishes and the archdiocese to strengthen and expand the life and ministry of Jesus for decades to come,” said Rev. Mark Brauer, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows. “Our prayer team also gave spiritual support to the prayer requests received from parishioners in our phone ministry,” he added.  “Through this parishioner-to-parishioner outreach, we became aware of many parishioners who were in need, mostly for prayers, a listening ear, and to simply visit with someone. We are now forming a prayer ministry for the many prayer requests of our parish family and to expand our services to homebound parishioners.”

“We have 110,000 square feet of building space on a large campus,” said Nordbeck. “We want to be rid of our debt so we can reinvest in our facilities and people to provide a warm and welcoming faith experience. Even now, three months after the official end of the campaign at Sorrows, we’re continuing to make progress toward our parish goal. Given the economy, we’re exceptionally thankful for the stewardship and support we have received.”

Changing Lives Together is a series of parish campaigns to generate resources to fulfill parish-developed plans and priorities. Learn more about the initiative in your parish.