By Marie Galetto-Dugoni
When Bishop McGrath arrived in 1998 as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose, we celebrated a Mass of welcome. In his homily, he said, “It is my promise and pledge to you that in all things and above all things I will open my life to the transforming love of God, in order to carry this same love to all the people of this valley.”
And that he has done! Over the past twenty years, ministry in our Catholic community has grown, including the opening of a new parish. He has challenged us to be inclusive in our outreach to our neighbors in need, regardless of their background, creed, or circumstance. In good times and tough times, he enveloped us with his love and commitment.
Under the leadership of this joyful shepherd, we have thrived in ministry and works, growing sacraments, reaching out to our neighbors, and living our Gospel values as the Body of Christ.
The Bishop Patrick J. McGrath Endowment has been established to benefit the Diocese of San Jose as part of his legacy as leader and shepherd of the diocese for twenty years. Bishop McGrath has been a constant source of love and support for lay leaders, clergy, and families. His legacy of support will continue forever through the grants from the new endowment, named in his honor.
“I believe strongly in the importance of endowment to invigorate and sustain ministry,” said Bishop McGrath. “As we grow our local Church, key to our vibrancy will be the strength and contribution of lay leaders, families, and clergy. Through this fund we will be able to support them forever.”
The leadership of the Diocese, in partnership with the Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County, asks anyone who would like to honor Bishop McGrath’s twenty-year legacy of service to make a gift of any amount to this fund in lieu of other gifts.
The newly established Bishop Patrick J. McGrath Endowment will provide grants to programs throughout the Diocese of San Jose in three key areas of ministry: Lay Leadership, Family Life, and Clergy Leadership. Effective and inspired lay leaders are the cornerstone of healthy, vibrant parish life. The role and importance of lay leaders in our community is only growing. These leaders impact all aspects of our Catholic experience – liturgy, sacraments, parish finance and administration, prayer life, outreach and more.
Grants from the endowment will support business managers, finance council members, women religious, liturgical ministers, key volunteers and other lay leaders in our community as they develop financial skills, conflict resolution, strategic planning, and other expertise necessary to run and grow our faith communities. Providing our leaders with trainings and skill development is essential as we seek to invigorate our communities and strengthen the relationships between lay and clergy.
Families are at the heart of our Catholic community and the passing on of our faith. Grants from this endowment will fund programs that will serve the sacramental, educational, spiritual, and community life needs of Catholic families throughout the Diocese and strengthen the domestic Church. These needs begin with pro-life advocacy, change with the different seasons of life, and ultimately lead to education about the Church’s stance on euthanasia.
Guido and Adele Persicone, are parishioners at Holy Family Parish; their two children attended the Family Camp organized by the parish last year. The Family Camp invited families from all over the Diocese to come, “unplug,” and spend time together for a weekend.
“We thought – there are men’s retreats and women’s retreats, so why not a retreat that serves the whole family?” said Guido who worked on the idea for this program with Faith Formation Director, Christina Fenn. At the camp, families came together and focused on their relationships with each other and with God in an environment, free of the distractions of day-to-day life. “We love the idea that these funds will encourage parishes to think of more programs like this one,” said Adele. “We are always looking for new ways to engage with our kids in our faith.”
In times of sorrow and celebration, diocesan priests provide comfort and the joy of the sacraments. They are a friend to all, a shepherd for their communities, and a leader for their staff and volunteers. They wear many hats, from hearing confessions to making decisions with the finance council. The roles of diocesan priests are many, and it is essential that we support their spiritual, intellectual and professional needs so that they can become better leaders for our communities.
“We all desire to strengthen the Church through our vocation,” said Monsignor Francisco Rios, parochial vicar at Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish. “Any opportunity to improve my skills as a leader so I can better serve this community is welcome and appreciated!” These funds will support all clergy as they seek to develop professional skills, renew themselves spiritually, and pilot new ideas for their communities.
The Bishop Patrick J. McGrath Endowment is a permanent fund which means that grants to these three areas of ministry will continue forever. Contributing to this endowment allows us all to become part of Bishop McGrath’s legacy of love and support for laity, families, and clergy.
In closing his homily at the Welcome Mass in 1998, Bishop McGrath said,
In the service of God’s message of love, and to bring that message to the world, each and every one of you – no exception – is vital. In cooperation with one another as Church, in dependence on the Holy Spirit living within us, together we must carry to the world, to OUR world, the message and assurance of God’s love.
Through the strength of the Bishop Patrick J. McGrath Endowment, we can bring FOREVER VALUE to our community by strengthening lay leaders, families and clergy in living the joy of the Gospel.
Visit cfoscc.org/bishop-mcgrath-endowment for more information and to make a gift to the endowment online. The Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County is managing this endowment and future grantmaking.