Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, Brazil, IN

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Parish has been serving the people of Brazil and West Central Indiana for more than 150 years.  However, in more than a century of ministry, the church had never undergone major renovation.  “We faced a crucial juncture”, recalls Pastor Father John Hollowell.  “Either we would repair the structure or tear it down.  We could not wait, something had to be done.”

To help guide them through their first ever campaign, church leaders received a list of firms recommended and approved by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. After interviewing the three firms on that list a unanimous decision was made to engage The Covenant Group.  “They just seemed like the best fit for us,” Father Hollowell stated. Immediately the feasibility study process began.

The son of the President of a Catholic High School, Father Hollowell understood the importance of the feasibility study.  “Watching my father conduct capital campaigns and having experienced them myself, I know how crucial it is to include the feasibility study as part of the overall campaign”. He added, “The study was beneficial in helping to educate the parish about our plans…having an external source to help answer questions, communicate the vision and conduct the interviews really built consensus and momentum.  People saw our efforts to involve them, educate them and maintain transparency.  This helped them feel good about making a pledge.” At the completion of the study, parish leaders decided to move forward with a $650,000 campaign.

“Professional, prompt, individualized” are words Father Hollowell uses to describe The Covenant Group.  “They really tailored the campaign to specifically fit our church.”  He continued, “Many times people who met Dr. Moisan and Joe Cecil throughout the process commented on how easy they were to talk to; how relatable and genuine.”

To date, the campaign has raised $1.1 million.  “It truly is a miracle”, says Father Hollowell.  Annunciation has only 200 families and is located in an area that has experienced its share of economic turmoil.  “People were committed from the beginning, but at that point even raising $650,000 seemed like a stretch to many parishioners.  To nearly double that amount is incredible!”

Father Hollowell is pleased to report that the campaign has “totally rejuvenated our parish”. He added, “When you hit a goal like that, it builds such a sense of community.  It makes you realize there are a lot of other people who share the same vision.” Other positive benefits have included increased offertory giving as well as an upturn in special donations and volunteerism.

“Recently, we started a Society of St. Vincent De Paul outreach. The campaign helped our parishioners see how blessed we are. The momentum built by the campaign is spilling outside the walls of our church and benefiting others in the process.” When asked if he would recommend The Covenant Group to other churches seeking counsel, Father Hollowell simply concluded with “One hundred percent”.