PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When St. Paul Cathedral was completed in 1906 it had cost the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh $1.1 million. That amounts to nearly $30 million in today’s dollars.

It was not great wealth that built the Gothic landmark, but the small earnings of immigrants that filled the collection plates.

“This is the first time in the 169-year history of the Diocese that we’ve ever done anything like this,” says Bishop David Zubik.

The Diocese will be counting on contributions, large and small, to realize a new fundraising campaign starting this January; and $125 million is the goal, with most of that money going right back to the parishes.

Bishop Zubik has been testing the waters since March, and initial pledges for that quiet phase of the campaign are already more than $25 million.

“Young people, especially my age group, really need to learn more about their faith,” says Stephen Logan, “and I think it’s going to be a good investment in the future.”

Very little of the campaign will go for brick and mortar projects. The Diocese will use its portion primarily on flesh and blood programs responding to the needs of its people.

Some examples: tuition grants for parish children to attend parochial schools, the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Clinics, and ministry to homebound senior citizens.

About $70 million would go directly to the 204 parishes.

“This provides an opportunity for every parish to make some of their dreams come true,” Bishop Zubik said.

“I did think it would be a challenge for our parish because, as you can imagine, bucks are not big here,” says Fr. David Taylor, pastor of St. Charles Lwanga Parish in Homewood.

St. Charkles Lwanga is part of the nine-parish campaign pilot program. Their wish list includes making buildings handicap accessible. Parishioners will also benefit from the Diocesan service programs.

“It is a thing we are doing in faith, and I have every feeling to believe we are going to be successful in it,” he said.

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