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Catholic Voice
July 10, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
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Dime by dime, dollar by dollar
St. Francis pupils redeem pledge

Ellie Ramos, Izzy Barreravallar, Ceri Williams, Mia Peters and Alexis Tsamoudakis were third-graders at St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord in 2014, when the pupils there pledged $6,000 to the diocesan Capital Campaign. That pledge has been fulfilled — a full year early.

St. Francis of Assisi School's Lenten project was two-fold: Raise funds for gift cards for the refugee family from Afghanistan the parish is sponsoring, and raise funds for the school's pledge, made in 2014, to Reclaiming Christ's Mission Together, the diocesan Capital Campaign,

There was some spirited competition among the classrooms, with the fourth- and fifth-graders battling out.

Everybody won.

The family received cards to help them in their resettlement in the United States, and that pledge is now marked "Paid."

"They were quite excited," Sister James Marien Dyer, CSJ, principal, said. The pledge was $1,500 a year for four years — a total of $6,000.

"My thought, when we first did it, was that they'd see how a diocese runs," she said. That 25 percent would be returned to the parish offered "a way to help your own parish."

When he learned of the pledge, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, made a personal call of thanks to the pupils that "made our day," Sister James reported in 2014.

Click here to see the
Capital Campaign report
Sister James found a model house built of clear plastic that fit on a tabletop for pupils to place donations. She put a cross on the chimney to make it a church.

Pupils would count donations in class, then put them in the church.

"You could see it growing," Sister James said.

It was a well-watched campaign. "Every once in a while, someone would put in a $20 bill," Sister James recalled. That would attract attention.

Over the years, that growth was helped along by fundraisers, such as nacho sales.

Similarly, a class fundraiser at St. Patrick School in Rodeo brought in $1,000. At that school, parents received a letter asking them to contribute to the campaign.

Some of that giving was personal, too, at St. Francis of Assisi. "A little kindergartner came with her piggy bank," Sister James said. The child was accompanied by her mother; the family is teaching the child about giving. "Every year they give to someone who needs it."

The little girl's $100 went into the church.

She didn't forget, telling Sister James, "I brought in some of the money."

Sister James made three trips to the grocery store to convert the change in the plastic church to cash.

That $6,000 pledge was paid in full— one year early.

"I'm very proud of them," Sister James said of her students. "They came through."

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