Home Campaign FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions about the Home campaign. Click any question to see the answer. Click again to collapse it.

What are the goals of the Home campaign?

The Home campaign is designed to address the rapid growth and future needs of our Diocese. First and foremost, the Home campaign’s primary goal is to support the needs of our parishes. Secondly, we want to respond to the call of our Holy Father by creating the Pope Francis Charitable Trust Fund. The Home campaign will also bolster funding for catholic education,fully fund priest retirement and create our new diocesan home by building a new cathedral.

Why now? Why is this campaign being conducted?

With the rapid growth we’ve experienced in all parishes, including the Cathedral parish, there are many needs. We also have a duty to provide for the poor, guarantee a dignified future for our retired priests, and make certain we allow those who seek a Catholic education— to receive one. There is never a good time to ask for money. We all have personal needs and responsibilities. Our Diocese has reached a significant point in its history and as a Church we now have an opportunity to build on the vision that started with our diocesan and parish founders.

Who will participate in the Home campaign? When will my parish begin the campaign?

All Catholics in East Tennessee will be asked to participate in their parish’s Home campaign. Parish campaigns will be conducted in 4 waves, each lasting approximately six months. With input from pastors and parish leadership teams, parishes have been assigned to the following waves: graph

Where will my campaign dollar go?

For most parishes, the breakdown of dollars allocated to specific initiatives up to the parish goal is:

  • Parish Priorities 50%
  • Pope Francis Charitable Trust Fund 10%
  • Catholic Education Trust Fund 6%
  • Priests Retirement 8%
  • Cathedral 18%

(There are different breakdowns for our missions and the Cathedral parish)

How will money raised in the parishes be used to strengthen our Diocese?

One of the unique facets of our faith is that through our diocese, our parishes are united together to worship, teach and serve. Together, we can do more than any one parish can do individually. Significant initiatives such as The Pope Francis Charitable Trust Fund, The Catholic Education Trust Fund, Priest Retirement and the building of a new Cathedral require us to work together to address these needs. While the parish itself is the most significant beneficiary of the dollars received, a portion of what is raised at each parish will go toward these important diocesan initiatives.

Do parishes receive more dollars if they achieve their goal?

If parishes raise money in excess of their Home campaign goals, the proportion of the funds directed toward parish projects increases dramatically. After reaching 100% of goal, the parish receives 75% of all dollars raised. After reaching 150% of goal, the parish receives 100% of all dollars raised thereafter.

How will I be asked to contribute?

When your parish’s Home campaign occurs, you will be asked to consider a pledge to the campaign. Depending on your parish’s needs, the pledge period will be 3-5 years.
Pledges are important because they provide you with the flexibility to consider a gift that can have a greater impact on your parish’s campaign.

How much should I give?

This is a transformational moment in the life of the Church in East Tennessee. The Home campaign is an extraordinary opportunity to further establish our parishes, missions, and worship spaces for current and future generations of Catholics in our growing and vibrant diocese. Contributions to your parish’s offertory and the Bishop’s Appeal are the lifeblood of the everyday operations of our parishes and missions. For the Home campaign, you will be asked to prayerfully consider a meaningful gift above and beyond these contributions.

How will money raised in the parishes benefit the building of a new Cathedral?

While the majority of the dollars for the Cathedral project will come from Sacred Heart Cathedral parish and other significant major gifts, the remaining parishes of the diocese will help by raising an estimated $4.5 million toward this important initiative. Roughly 18 percent of the dollars expected to be raised in the parishes will be allocated to the Cathedral project.

Why is there a need for a new Cathedral?

The current Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was built in 1956 as a simple parish church. In 1988, when the Diocese of Knoxville was established by Saint John Paul II, the church was elevated to serve as the cathedral of the new Diocese – a purpose for which it was not built. While the Diocese of Knoxville has seen tremendous growth since its creation, the Cathedral has remained virtually unchanged. With seating for about 550 people, virtually no gathering area, limited space in the sanctuary, and inadequate parking/traffic flow, these limitations have never been more evident than they are today. Regular weekend and weekday Masses are overflowing. With nearly 700 students and faculty, we cannot accommodate all-school Masses. Major liturgical celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, and holy days of obligation regularly require people to gather in the aisles, narthex, school lobby, and sometimes outside of the church (from the front steps or in tents placed in the parking lot) in order to participate in those liturgies.

What is a Cathedral?

The name “cathedral” comes from the Latin word “cathedra”, meaning “chair”. The bishop’s chair—his cathedra—is the sign of his teaching office. The cathedral, then, is the site of the bishop’s chair and represents the bishop’s role as shepherd of his diocese. A cathedral church is also regarded as the center of the liturgical life of that diocese. As “mother church” of the diocese, the cathedral is the preferred place for celebration of the most important diocesan liturgical celebrations.

Why can’t another church in the Diocese of Knoxville serve as the Cathedral and were other sites considered?

The decision to locate the seat of the Diocese in the city of Knoxville was made by Saint John Paul II in 1988. His decree elevated the Sacred Heart Parish church to Cathedral status. The location has many of the needed requirements – geographically central to our diocese, necessary campus and parking space, and accessibility to major thoroughfares. While the current cathedral lacks the necessary and appropriate liturgical space, all other churches in the Diocese of Knoxville measured against these requirements also fail to meet the practical needs today and those of our future expected growth.

What is the budgeted cost of the new Cathedral and how will it be paid for?

The budget for the new Cathedral is $25 million dollars. Building the new Cathedral is a shared responsibility and everyone will have the opportunity to participate. Parishes of the Diocese of Knoxville will help by raising an estimated $4.5 million toward this initiative. Separate campaigns at Sacred Heart parish as well as major gifts campaigns inside and outside of the diocese will fund the majority of the cathedral project. Has the Diocese of Knoxville ever tried to raise this much money before? Without question, the Home campaign the most ambitious effort in the history of the Diocese of Knoxville. This can be a historic time in the life of our Church. Our giving will need to reflect this historic opportunity. The Bible tells us, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God.” (Deut. 16:17). In the past, when members of our diocese have been asked to give—they have responded with overwhelming generosity. In 2004, the GiFT campaign had a goal of raising $20 million. Parishioners from the Diocese of Knoxville actually raised $26.5 million. We know that this campaign will be successful as the faithful of East Tennessee engage in this historic opportunity in the life of the Church.

What are the key features of the new Cathedral?
    • An enduring and timeless cathedral built in a traditional cruciform style
    • Increased worship space from 7,500 to approximately 20,000 sq. ft.
    • Increased seating capacity from 550 to approximately 950
    • A new road, bridge, parking and circulation plan improving accessibility
    • Large sanctuary, able to accommodate large liturgical celebrations
    • A large and welcoming narthex to gather as a community
    • Choir loft, baptismal font, confessionals, and vesting areas
    • Exceptional acoustics for both the spoken word & music
    • State of the art “green” HVAC system designed to heat/cool specific areas maximizing operational efficiency
    • A bride’s room, restroom facilities, handicap access, and ancillary spaces
How many people will the new Cathedral accommodate? What about parking?

The new Cathedral will comfortably seat 950 with the total capacity of 1,200 with additional seating in side aisles and the Narthex. The master plan calls for 425 parking spaces, nearly doubling current campus parking.

Are there civic benefits to having a new Cathedral?

The new Cathedral allows for the current church to be renovated into a much needed conference center in the Bearden area. It will be available to groups of all kinds. The Sacred Heart campus already hosts over 100 different community organizations each year including the Junior League of Knoxville, AYSO soccer, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the German School of Knoxville, and Covenant Health to name a few. The Diocese is committed to the idea that Sacred Heart will continue to be a gathering place in the community for public meetings, candidate forums, lectures and other events.

How does the Cathedral project compare to other building projects in East Tennessee?

Buildings matter. Buildings create intentional space that serves the specific purpose of the organization. Communities are often identified by their buildings and the substantial impact they have on the people who live there. Many building projects across East Tennessee have made a major impact on the community around them. Just think of the impact that the Tennessee Theater renovation (cost: $24million) has made on Knoxville, or UT’s Thompson-Boling Arena ($40 million in 1979—$83 million in today’s dollars). The University of Tennessee recently renovated Neyland Stadium at a cost of nearly $160 million and UT’s Sorority Village was built for $56 million. The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga cost $45 million in 1992 ($76 million today). The Niswonger Performing Art Center in Greeneville cost $10 million and The Knoxville Convention Center cost nearly $100 million to build. Each of these has added to our local identity by creating special places to gather and come together as a community.

When do you anticipate breaking ground? When is the new Cathedral anticipated to be finished?

The ceremonial groundbreaking will be April 17, 2015. This date was chosen because it is Cardinal Justin Rigali’s 80th birthday and he is a passionate supporter of East Tennessee Catholics and the new Cathedral. We expect many Catholic bishops and priests from around the country to attend this celebration as well. Site preparation will begin once the school year has ended in June 2015. The new Cathedral will take approximately two years to build. We anticipate the dedication being September 8, 2017 in the 60th year of Sacred Heart parish.

What does the future hold for the current cathedral building?

Once the new Cathedral is built and occupied, the old cathedral will be renovated into a Meeting/Conference Center. Up to 500 people can be accommodated for lectures, performances, receptions, etc.

How will the Home campaign and a new Cathedral strengthen the Catholic Church in East Tennessee?

Our diocese was recently cited as one of the fastest growing in the United States. In the past few years, we have added 4 new missions – one of which is now a full parish – bringing the total to 48. The number of priests in our diocese now stands at 86—more than double what we had in 1988. Additionally, we have 1 seminarian for every 4 active priests—which is significantly higher than the national average. To meet the demands of that rapid growth, from time to time it’s necessary to undertake a fundraising effort that goes beyond the scope of our normal operations. The Home campaign addresses those needs—through building projects, debt reduction, charity, education and religious instruction and funding priest retirement.

What are the allocations for the Cathedral parish and our Mission churches?

As our Mission churches are just getting started and they need special help during this time, our mission churches receive 75% of what is raised toward their parish priorities. As the Cathedral serves as both a parish church and a diocesan church and the Cathedral project is so significant, 100% of what is raised at the Cathedral parish will go toward the Cathedral project.

What about the 2015 Bishop’s Appeal and my normal offertory giving?

The Bishop’s Appeal is a separate annual fundraising effort that is crucial to the services our Diocese provides. For instance, Catholic Charities receives a significant portion of its annual funding from the Bishop’s appeal. Other efforts funded by the Bishop’s Appeal are Clergy and Seminarian Formation, Health Services Ministries, Campus Ministries and Ministries for Justice and Peace. For this reason, the Bishop’s Appeal will continue and will run simultaneously with the Home campaign. Additionally, your parish depends on weekly offertory to fund its services and operations.

What is the Diocese doing to help provide for the needs of the poor?

The Diocese of Knoxville has always been committed to serving the poor. Our diocese provides more than $6 million in ongoing service to the poor and marginalized each year. Under the Home campaign, this commitment to serve the less fortunate will remain constant. In fact, with the creation of The Pope Francis Charitable Trust Fund we will accelerate our commitment to charity by providing for matching grants to parishes to help foster and accelerate their own charitable efforts. Over the next 5 years, the Diocese of Knoxville will spend more on charitable initiatives than is being budgeted for the new Cathedral.


Parish Initiatives ・ Pope Francis Charitable Fund ・ Education Fund ・ Priest Retirement  ・ Cathedral Project

Diocese Profile ・ FAQs ・ Campaign Prayer ・ Letter from Bishop Stika