Northern California Catholics campaign to raise $50 million |

Northern California Catholics campaign to raise $50 million

Two Nevada County Catholic churches will join a campaign to raise $50 million to restore a cathedral in Sacramento and to build a retirement home for priests, a food distribution center and other projects.

The Diocese of Sacramento has given each of its 98 parishes in the 20 Northern Californian counties an “assessment,” or fund-raising goal, for the campaign, “Preserving Our Past … Building Our Future.”

The Rev. Simon Twomey, pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Grass Valley, will announce a $2 million campaign Sunday to help in the diocese-wide campaign and to purchase 20 acres near Grass Valley for a new church.

The diocese assigned the Grass Valley church an assessment of $711,600, Twomey said. Because the 1,500-family church has increased by 300 families in the past few years, it needs a new church in the next five or six years and $1.3 million to buy land, he said.

The existing 5,657-square-foot church at South Church and Chapel streets may become a meeting hall.

The Rev. James McKnight, pastor of St. Canice Catholic Church in Nevada City, said he can’t disclose the amount of his parish’s assessment because he hadn’t yet discussed it with parish members.

The campaign began last year in eight parishes, Mimi Scherber, diocese director of stewardship and development , said Thursday. The remaining parishes will now kick off their own fund-raising efforts, and consultants from the diocese are available to help them, she said. The campaign should be finished in July, she said.

Of the $50 million, $16 million is earmarked for Catholic education and faith formation, which includes building more schools and sending young men to seminaries; $12 million for parish support; $10 million for restoration of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento; $7 million for priests’ retirement funds and housing; and $5 million for Catholic social ministries, Scherber said.

Of the $5 million earmarked for social ministries, $2 million will go to the Sacramento Food Bank to construct two facilities – a food distribution center and community learning center that will include a mother-baby program in Del Paso Heights.

Parishes will receive $12 million for their own needs, almost a quarter of what they raise, Scherber said.

But “the biggie” is “a really significant and holistic restoration” of the cathedral at 11th and K streets in Sacramento, built in 1889, Scherber said.

“It’s the central house of worship for the diocese,” Scherber said. The diocese is about the size of Tennessee, she said.

Millions of parishioners are expected to contribute individually, Scherber said. “People have been very, very generous.”

On the Net

The campaign is described on the diocese Web site at

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