Parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Canandaigua have been marking the centennial anniversary of the church building all year long, but this month they found a million other reasons to celebrate.
In early December they learned that a longtime parishioner — who wishes to remain anonymous outside the parish — has created two $500,000 endowment funds, one for the parish and the other for St. Mary’s School. Each endowment will pay out over a period of 10 years, said Father Thomas Mull, pastor.
“We were told that a person wanted to make a gift to the parish for the centennial as a sign that while we’re celebrating our past we plan on being around well into the future,” Father Mull said.
Money from the parish’s endowment fund will be used to offset parish operating expenses, while money from the school’s fund will be used for tuition assistance and educational expenses. Both the donor and his mother are St. Mary’s almuni, and the donor didn’t want tuition expenses to keep any potential students from attending the school, Father Mull said.
St. Mary’s Parish includes about 2,200 families, the priest said, noting that parishioners have always been very generous, even pledging more than $1 million toward the diocesan Partners in Faith capital campaign. To the best of his knowledge, these endowment funds are the biggest gifts the parish and school have ever received, he added.
“Obviously, we were very grateful for that. It’s a good testimony of his dedication to the church and St. Mary’s,” Father Mull said.