In November 1908, Bishop Thomas Bonacum purchased two lots on the north edge of Cheney, Nebraska. Early in 1909, construction began on a wooden structure that would become St. Michael’s first church, and on May 23 of that year Mass was celebrated for the first time in the new church. By 2006 the parish had grown to nearly 400 families with over 200 children in Catholic schools or CCD. These figures were projected to nearly double within seven years, which was a projection that has held true.
With the significant growth of the parish membership, it was time to explore options to accommodate the St. Michael’s community. An exploration of options determined the construction of a school, a 950 seat church, and rectory would best serve the growing membership. The project would be conducted in phases. The first phase would be construction of a new school with enough room to celebrate Mass until the church could be built. On the eve of the parish’s 100th anniversary, St. Michael’s partnered with CCS, a fundraising consulting firm, to raise over $3.5 million for the school in 2009. In 2011, St. Michael’s engaged an additional 153 new parish families in the campaign who contributed an additional $743,166 to the effort. At the conclusion of both the 2009 and 2011 campaigns, over $4.3 million total was raised, which supported the construction and opening of St. Michael Catholic School in 2011. We are blessed that our parish families have been extraordinarily generous when called upon. You have built our parish family and facilities. Now, with a parish membership that is almost twice the size it was in our last campaign, we are ready to move forward and continue planning for our future.
Establishing St. Michael School was the goal of phase one and it is now time to begin with the second phase: construction of a new church, participation in the Diocesan Joy of the Gospel campaign, and the elimination of the remaining debt. The initial plans for the church in this phase call for a shell of the basement parish hall and the basic structure of a church with seating for 950+ parishioners. In future phases of the project, overflow parish seating would accommodate an additional 100 parishioners in the day chapel. Other aspects of the church, such as more extensive ornamentation, would also be left for future phases of the project. Three million dollars in debt remains from construction of the school and the parish must have a minimum of 50% of the construction costs in hand ($5 million) before we can seek approval from the Diocese for construction. Additionally, as part of the Diocese of Lincoln, we are responsible for our fair share ($736,000) in the historic, diocesan-wide campaign entitled, Joy of the Gospel. Our estimated total need amounts to $10 million or more. On the pathway to raising these funds to construct the church, our goal is to raise as much as possible of the estimated need over the next five years through the Our Family, Our Faith, Our Future campaign. We know that in order to do this, we will need support from the entire parish.
Plans for our new spiritual home include;
- A fully functional church to support worship and celebration of all Sacraments
- A large sanctuary with pews, which will accommodate 750+ parishioners
- A narthex, which will accommodate 200+ additional parishioners
- A cry room in a central part of the church, allowing convenient accessibility to parents and children
- A bridal/family room to provide a private area for families prior to weddings, funerals, and baptisms
- Approximately 50 additional parking spots directly in front of the church, allowing easier accessibility for older parishioners
- A shell of the lower level area, which in later phases will be converted into a parish hall able to seat 500 parishioners around tables
- An infrastructure which will be conducive to the addition of a day chapel to accommodate 100+ additional parishioners in future phases of the project
The Time is Now
St. Michael Catholic Church has thrived as a spiritual community for over a century without a permanent house of worship and, until recently, without a school. Now, having fulfilled the immediate educational needs of our parish, we are turning to meet the needs of every generation in the parish by building a church. The church will be a spiritual home where the Sacraments can be celebrated with the reverence and dignity that they deserve. Our youngest parishioners will be baptized in the Church as well as receive their First Communion and Confirmation there. School and CCD children will be able to pray in a true house of God, and devoted couples will be able to celebrate their marriages in the church. It will also be a place where families can properly say goodbye to loved ones who have passed away. Through the Our Family, Our Faith, Our Future campaign, we have a tremendous opportunity as a community to come together, celebrate our present, and build a house of worship that will support our spirituality today and lay a foundation for future generations.
Our Family, Our Faith, Our Future Campaign Prayer
Loving and provident God, Creator of all and Builder of the Universe, we, the parish family of St. Michael, humbly ask your continued blessing on the spiritual, human and financial commitment we have made for the building of our new school and church and the fulfillment of Your Kingdom on earth.
Unless You build the house, we labor in vain to build it. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, St. Joseph the builder, and our patron, St. Michael the Archangel, bring to perfection the good work You have begun in us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ways to Give
Our campaign is seeking five-year pledges with flexible payment plans.
- Cash Pledges – Payments can be made by check, cash, or ACH.
- Stock & Securities – Gifts of stock can be an ideal vehicle for donors. Please contact the parish office to speak with Betsy Ashman, Business Manager.
- Real Estate – Gifts of real estate provide many of the same advantages as stock gifts while having a meaningful impact on the campaign and our future.
- Deferred & Planned Giving – An estate gift provides the donor with a “gift of a lifetime.” Life insurance, annuities, trusts and/or bequests are all excellent ways to make a long-term impact on St. Michael Catholic Church.
Read more information about the project.
Read Commonly Asked Questions about the campaign.
View the Our Faith, Our Family, Our Future gift planner.
Visit Father Borowiak’s blog for updates on the campaign.