October 29, 2012

Corktown parish reinvigorated by campaign

Most Holy Trinity Event

About 360 households are registered at Most Holy Trinity in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, with parishioners pledging almost $97,000 to the Changing Lives Together campaign.

Though parishioners at Most Holy Trinity parish in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood quickly surpassed the fundraising goal of their Changing Lives Together campaign and the material results are being accomplished, the enthusiasm and involvement among the parish faithful continue to buoy Rev. Russ Kohler, pastor of the historic parish. “I’ve never been happier or more energized,” said Father Kohler. “Changing Lives Together helped to reinvigorate our parish councils, committees, and ministries. Our people are coming forward and pulling together,” he continued. “They’re proud of their faith, committed to their parish, and much of this is a result from how we came together through the campaign.”

Dozens of parishioners at the Corktown parish have committed nearly $97,000 in pledges, surpassing the parish goal of $88,200. Parish priorities included setting funds aside to replace aging boilers in the church and school as well as to support parish ministries such as a food and clothing program that assists an average of 300 people each month. A new, handicapped-accessible restroom has been installed in the church, a major project in a building constructed in 1855.

Most Holy Trinity Leaders

Father Russell Kohler (left), pastor of Most Holy Trinity, said his Changing Lives Together leadership team has rallied around the campaign as they have done with other parish ministries

From an elderly parishioner giving $10 every four weeks to a young professional pledging $10,000 over three years, participation in Changing Lives Together at Most Holy Trinity mirrors the diversity of its parishioners and their means. “We have a young couple with two children who struggle to pay their bills and need occasional help with food and clothing from the parish,” said Father Kohler. “Despite their challenges, they made a twenty dollar monthly commitment to Changing Lives Together,” he continued. “They want to keep the vitality of the parish going and see the school continue.”

Rev. Russ Kohler and John Caruana

Rev. Russ Kohler and John Caruana, a member of the Most Holy Trinity campaign leadership team

Father Kohler has heard several different reasons for parishioners participating in the campaign. An elderly parishioner at Most Holy Trinity gives $1 each week in the offertory collection, and decided to pledge $10 a month to the campaign. “She said her heating bills are high in the winter, but she really respects Archbishop Vigneron, likes the fact that he is from southeast Michigan and understands what Detroit is about,” recalled Father Kohler.

Younger parishioners also responded to the call. “We have a parishioner that graduated from our school, went on to become a corporate project manager, and made a $3,000 pledge,” said Father Kohler. “We have also received a $10,000 gift from an engineer impressed with the spirit of giving among other parishioners,” he added.

Most Holy Trinity Leadership Team

Most Holy Trinity's Changing Lives Together leadership team

More than 100 students from several nations are enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade in Most Holy Trinity Grade School, many of them from families of refugees. “Our parishioners really care about the school, which, having opened in 1838 is the second oldest continually operating Catholic school in the nation,” explained Father Kohler. “Most of our students can’t afford to be here without tuition and expense assistance,” he added. “We’re really pleased that one of the overall campaign goals is to increase archdiocesan funding for tuition assistance, which will help our parish efforts to make a Catholic education more affordable.”

Changing Lives Together is energizing a 175-year tradition of welcoming immigrants, helping those in need, and educating children in the Catholic tradition at Most Holy Trinity. “We are really enthused about this whole effort,” observed Father Kohler. “We are overwhelmed with the participation, especially among those who are just trying to survive in their own way. This campaign has showed us what we can accomplish together, and now it’s a matter of deciding where we will go from here.”

Updated October 2012

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.