By Cathy Harasta
The Texas Catholic
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell presided at a Sept. 30 news conference as the Catholic Diocese of Dallas formally kicked off its $125 million capital campaign, “Our Faith…Our Future,” and celebration of the diocese’s 125th anniversary at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Hundreds, including many members of the clergy, attended the news conference, at which the bishop encapsulated the diocese’s history and underscored its rapid growth pace and the pressing needs for land and additional parishes to meet projections.
“Now is the moment that we have to step up to the plate and look to the future,” said Bishop Farrell, who since 2007 has shepherded the nine-county, 75-parish diocese that encompasses 1.2 million Catholics. “What kind of a future will Dallas have without the presence of the Catholic Church?”
Bishop Farrell outlined numerous contributions the diocese has made to the North Texas economy, including the more than $100 million it puts into the economy annually in salaries and the more than $125 million a year the diocese saves the state of Texas by educating more than 15,000 students in Catholic schools.
The campaign will benefit the core areas of the diocese, including Catholic schools, Holy Trinity Seminary, Catholic Charities of Dallas, the Cathedral, and the many parish ministries.
Spirited applause followed the bishop’s announcement that more than 50 percent of the campaign’s goal of $125 million already has been raised for the diocese, which was established in 1890.
“It is my belief that we have the potential to be the greatest Catholic Diocese in the United States of America,” Bishop Farrell said.
He introduced former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and longtime Dallas-area Catholic community member and philanthropist Roger Staubach with a special tribute to his famous 1975 pass to Drew Pearson.
The bishop called Staubach “…the Catholic person who has done more than any priest, any religious or any Catholic person in the 125-year history of the Dallas Diocese in promoting the Hail Mary!”
Staubach told the audience about the great impact the campaign would have on Catholic schools and praised the role Catholic teaching plays in forming how people appreciate diversity and treat one another.
He said that he looked forward to the diocese’s 125th anniversary with “…great faith, anticipation and excitement.”
In addressing the gathering, Kate Dailey, the president of Bishop Dunne Catholic School, spoke of the many virtues of Catholic education, including its promotion of a welcoming culture, peace and social justice through educational opportunities.
She emphasized the importance of keeping Catholic schools accessible to all. The capital campaign’s support will help to ensure resources for educational models and technology geared to the future, resources to make certain Catholic schools remain truly inclusive, and resources to update aging infrastructure, Dailey said.
“Now is our time to empower Catholic schools to continue on an inspiring trajectory,” she said.
Students from schools including Bishop Lynch High School, Bishop Dunne Catholic School and John Paul II High School in Plano participated in the event. The Bishop Lynch A Cappella Choir performed before and after the announcements.