July 3, 2012

Pastor of northwest Detroit parish “deeply moved” at success of Changing Lives Together

Father Scullin (left) with the Gesu Changing Lives Together leadership team at an initiative event

Timed to coincide with the 90th anniversary of Gesu Parish, the Changing Lives Together campaign launched in March at the northwest Detroit parish has succeeded well beyond the expectations of its pastor, Rev. Robert Scullin. More than 200 Gesu households have pledged nearly $438,000 toward a $467,000 goal.

“I am deeply moved and grateful at the response from the Gesu family,” said Father Scullin. “Given the economy and Detroit’s shrinking population, I didn’t know how this would work,” he continued. “There were lots of reasons it was the wrong time to launch a transformational fundraising campaign, but through the grace of God, a great leadership team, and the generous hearts of our parishioners, we’ve had tremendous success. It shows the depth of generosity and trust in the local Church,” added Father Scullin, who will observe his third anniversary as the Pastor of Gesu in September.

The parish priorities, shaped by parishioners under the theme, Gesu Moving Forward, in the Spirit of Jesus! are targeted at increasing Gesu’s capacity for “praise, service, and prophetic wisdom…to grow in our ability to celebrate and reach out to the community.”

Archbishop Vigneron with members of Gesu’s Changing Lives Together leadership team at a campaign gathering

“Gesu has a strong evangelization program, anchored in our Catholic identity and projected through community service and hospitality,” explained Father Scullin. “This campaign will give us more and better tools to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to people who need the good news, through a parish community we want them to consider joining.”

As parishioner pledges are fulfilled, Changing Lives Together will enable Gesu to renovate the kitchen and dining room in its social hall that hosts parish gatherings and serves children from the nearby K-8 Gesu Catholic School. “Our parish offices are in a converted convent that sees a lot of community use and also houses the chapel we use for daily Mass in the winter so we don’t have to heat the church,” said Father Scullin. “We have a large unfinished area upstairs that we’ll renovate and add heating and cooling, opening up Gesu for even more neighborhood services and evangelization opportunities.”

Other parish funds raised through Changing Lives Together will support outreach to those in need, address social justice issues, and create a long-planned walk-in baptismal font to reflect the sacramental importance of evangelization.

“Our next step is to reengage the dozens of parishioners who made this success happen,” said Father Scullin. “We will gather them, thank them, and invite them to continue their parish involvement in a number of ways,” he concluded.

Updated July 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.