PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese celebrated a major milestone Sunday.

A fundraising campaign has brought in nearly double its goal.

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A mass of gratitude at St. Paul Cathedral was held to thank parish leaders for their sacrifice and dedication.

Sunday, Bishop David Zubik announced the “Our Campaign for the Church Alive,” an historical initiative to invest in the future of the Catholic Church was a huge success. Two years ago, the goal was to raise $125 million. Bishop Zubik says the church has well exceeded the goal in pledges.

“That’s a little more than $230 million with more than $62 million already returned in cash,” Zubik said.

The bishop says 200 parishes stand to benefit the most, receiving 70 percent of the funds or $96 million. He cautions, the money can only be used for specific needs at the parishes.

“None of the campaign funds are to be used for everyday operation expenses and only on those priorities noted in the case statement,” said Zubik.

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He says additional funds will go to 17 Diocesan priorities, including need-based tuition grants for children, support for retired and senior priests and the charity’s free healthcare center.

Zubik says donations came from an anonymous $10 million donor to children turning in their piggy banks.

“For most of our clergy and laity, this is truly sacrificial giving,” Zubik said. “I am humbled by their love for their parishes and the church of Pittsburgh.”

A nonprofit corporation will makes sure the diocesan priorities are carried out.

Zubik says he believes the campaign has awakened the spirit of sacrifice and service that will benefit the church for years to come.

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