November 10, 2012

Our Lady on the River parishioners pledge over $1 million to improvements at three churches

Father Bob Schuster and Archbishop Vigneron meet with children

Father Bob Schuster (left) and Archbishop Vigneron meet with children enrolled at Holy Cross Elementary/Middle School in Marine City during the public launch of Changing Lives Together last fall. Increasing tuition assistance for Catholic students attending Catholic schools is a campaign priority at Our Lady on the River and for the archdiocesan-wide initiative.

By any measure, the Changing Lives Together campaign at Our Lady on the River is a major success. More than 700 parish households pledged more than $1 million for improvements and ministries involving all three of Our Lady on the River’s worship sites. Pledges arrived quickly after the parish campaign began in September 2011 and outpaced the parish goal by more than $760,000. Less than a year after the campaign began the at the St. Clair County churches, most of the parish priorities have been implemented.

St. Mark, Harsen's Island

St. Mark church on Harsen’s Island received a new roof and parking lot through the Changing Lives Together campaign.

Parking lots have been replaced at St. Mark on Harsen’s Island and St. Catherine in Algonac, with St. Mark’s also receiving a new roof. At Holy Cross church in Marine City, a room has been renovated to accommodate a campaign-funded youth ministry in which about 15 teens participate. Much of the lighting has been replaced at Holy Cross with LED technology to improve visibility and lower electricity bills. Three high-tech portable electronic whiteboards have been acquired at Holy Cross Catholic School in Marine City. A food pantry is being readied in the lower level of Holy Cross church, with students at Cardinal Mooney High Schoolworking to have the shelves stocked by Thanksgiving.

St. Catherine, Algonac

St. Catherine in Algonac has new parking lots by virtue of the campaign.

“The response was just overwhelming,” said Rev. Robert Bob Schuster, pastor of Our Lady on the River. “It is tremendously gratifying to move from things we dreamed of to seeing those dreams fulfilled.” Last fall, Father Schuster hosted Archbishop Vigneron for the public launch of the archdiocesan-wide Changing Lives Togethercampaign from Holy Cross church. The parish recently presented a slide show of the campaign progress and results at weekend Masses.

Holy Cross, Marine City

Holy Cross church in Marine City is one of three worship sites part of Our Lady on the River Parish. Holy Cross Elementary School and Cardinal Mooney High School are on the same site.

“Our parishioners have been very faithful and diligent in following through on their pledges, a few new parishioners have made pledges, and some folks are renewing their commitments beyond the three-year pledge fulfillment period,” said Father Schuster. “It is all very encouraging.”The Our Lady on the River case for support was prioritized “For His Children and Young Adults”, “For His People”, and “For His Church”. Beyond the parking lot repairs and starting the food bank, campaign goals included increasing parish-based tuition assistance for Catholic schools, establishing more youth programs to encourage renewed growth of faith among young adults, expanding help to unwed mothers, deepening support for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, as well as building repairs and enhancements at all three worship sites.

Our Lady on the River Leadership Team

The campaign leadership team at Our Lady on the River, from left to right: Bill Roland, Jim Miller, and Bob Goldenbogen

“We had a clear case, our lay leaders took ownership of the campaign, and our parishioners responded,” observed Father Schuster. “I see more enthusiasm among our parishioners resulting from Changing Lives Together,” he continued. “There is a new vitality in the parish. We’re not just talking – we’re doing, and that’s brought a new sense of purpose.”Updated: November 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.