Fr. Damian Young-Sam-You said that donations large and small help to grow parishes like St. Monica’s in Toronto. Photo by Jean Ko Din

A bequeath to your parish is a difference maker

By 
  • November 8, 2015

TORONTO - Fr. Damian Young-Sam-You has big plans for St. Monica’s Church and with generous donations from members of his congregation who have passed on, the parish is that much closer to reaching those goals.

The parish is currently working with the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Development Office to process three bequest donations. One donor bequeathed in his Will about $9,000 to the parish, while the other two bequests are still being processed.

Young-Sam-You said that though bequests are not frequent in the parish, when they arrive it makes a difference.

“Within the two years that I have been here, we’ve gotten bequests for small amounts and big amounts,” he said. “Sometimes, within their bequests, they have a request of where it goes. But the majority of it... they’ve given it to wherever (the church) needs it.”

Like St. Monica’s, many parishes greatly benefit from generous bequests to help keep the parish building and parish life sustainable. Parishioners often bequeath that their donations be invested in church ministries they love, such as music ministry or youth ministry. But bequests can also be made to provide support where the church has its greatest need.

Young-Sam-You said St. Monica’s greatest need at the moment is building maintenance and construction. The church was built in 1959 and there are many areas in the building that need attention. Future projects include fixing the roof, overcoming water issues in the basement, wheelchair accessibility and regrading the church parking lot.

Young-Sam-You said the planning is still at its early stages. He is talking with project managers and contractors to assess the costs and get initial estimates for these projects.

“We’ll use (the donations) with the Family of Faith money that’s coming in,” he said. “We’re just assessing it and then we have to go to the archdiocese, as well. So right now, we’re just collecting as much money as we can and we’re just storing it because we know we have to use it.”

Young-Sam-You said St. Monica’s has a growing parish life and it is important to keep the building sustainable to support the community.

Over his two years as pastor of the parish, he has worked with the community to establish more activities and programs. Youth ministry is thriving in the parish, with growing EDGE, LifeTeen and Alpha programs for youth.

St. Monica’s is also working to establish a young adult ministry, a fellowship ministry for parents and a church music ministry.

Young-Sam-You is also doing a lecture series on Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, leading Bible studies and retreats.

“My biggest vision for this parish is to make it a hub of missionary disciples, or evangelizing,” he said. “The centre is always Christ and it’s leading them through the sacraments and then, through the catechesis and then, having people invest themselves back to the church.”

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