April 16, 2012
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Royal Oak parish campaign off to a good start

From starting a parish prayer team and outreach to parishioners resulting in dozens of prayer intentions to a $2,000 anonymous cash gift and a commitment to send handwritten notes to the homebound, the Changing Lives Together campaign at St. Mary in Royal Oak is proving successful in diverse ways.

St. Mary Royal Oak Leadership Team

The Changing Lives Together campaign leadership team at St. Mary’s in Royal Oak

Over $512,000 has been pledged toward a $910,000 goal by members of the 1,400-household parish, which is growing under the leadership of Rev. Steven Wertanen, pastor of St. Mary. Parish priorities to be funded through Changing Lives Together include improving the church heating, air conditioning, and sound systems, more visible parish signage, and technology improvements at St. Mary Catholic School. “We have new families registering on a pretty consistent basis, and we make a point of letting them know about Changing Lives Together,” said Tom Larabell, campaign co-chair at St. Mary. Tom’s wife, Yvonne, is serving as the campaign events chair at St. Mary.

Parishioner-to-parishioner phone calls to seeking prayer intentions and welcoming call recipients to parish events helped give purpose to a newly-formed parish prayer team that has grown to about 60 participants. A St. Mary parishioner volunteered to send handwritten notes to homebound parishioners with prayer intentions and other requests. “The phone calls to reconnect with all of our parish families have been great,” said Larabell, a 32-year parishioner and former business manager at St. Mary.

St. Mary Royal Oak Family

A St. Mary’s parish family at a Changing Lives event.

Father Wertanen and the Changing Lives Together leadership team decided to set the parish sights higher for their campaign than archdiocesan expectations. “We want to get all of our most important priorities in front of parishioners and we want to get them accomplished,” explained Larabell. “We have a growing parish community, and we feel good about what we will be able to get done.”

Larabell and Father Wertanen scheduled personal visits with several parish families to get their campaign off to a good start, along with regular campaign updates in the parish bulletin. “We had one gift of $2,000 in cash from a member of the parish family who said it was in appreciation for everything the parish had done,” said Larabell. “That makes us feel pretty darn good about what we’re doing.”

Updated: April 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.