1) Call parishioners and pressure us to attend small meetings to discuss the fund raising efforts. When I told them I was aware of the campaign and didn’t need a meeting to learn more about it they turned up the pressure, but I was firm. Felt like one of those timeshare sales pitches you get on vacation.
2) I attended a meeting for another purpose and they took advantage of having a large group of people present and spent the first 15 minutes pushing the fund raising campaign. The person doing the sales pitch left after the speech, so they were not there for the meeting purpose.
3) They introduced a “prayer” in to the Mass and essentially force everyone to recite this as a group:
Thank you, God, for the gift of our vibrant community
United as a parish family, we wish to continue
Fanning the flame you ignited in our hearts,
to serve our community as we move toward completion
of our Pope John Paul II Center.
Help us to realize that giving is not a debt we owe.
It is something we are privileged to do
because everything we have is a gift from You
and is meant to be shared.
May our pledge to our campaign originate out of hearts
that are thankful for all your blessings to us.
4) And tonight was the most egregious tactic. We get a heavy-handed sermon about how it’s our duty to provide “stewardship” and provide the fruits of our labor to God. Then they pass out Pledge envelopes to everyone and ask people to come forward with their Pledge envelope filled out to the alter area where these pledges will be blessed. This attempt at peer pressure, public embarrassment, and group dynamics is the most disgusting I have seen in a Catholic church in a lifetime of attending Mass.
I am not opposed to the cause of expanding the JPII Center, but I do think the tactics used to raise donations has become quite distasteful, heavy handed, and unbecoming for a Christian organization.