PORTLAND — Bishop Richard Malone announced today that a two-year capital campaign for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has raised more than $42 million to benefit parishes and ministry programs across Maine.

The campaign, which officially ends June 30, surpassed its $40 million goal set in April 2008, Malone said during a morning news conference at the chancery on Ocean Avenue.

“Catholic people in Maine want to support the church, even in, and perhaps because of, hard times,” Malone said. “Our many ministries will all be strengthened.”

It was the diocese’s first statewide capital campaign in 40 years, conducted at a time when parishes across Maine are consolidating, struggling to pay bills and seeing membership fall.

The last statewide campaign was conducted in 1968. It raised just under $2 million to establish the Newman Center at the University of Maine at Orono and to seed an expansion of the Diocesan Human Relations Services of Portland, which is now Catholic Charities Maine. 

Malone said only 25 percent to 30 percent of Roman Catholics in Maine are active in the church.

The money will be used to fund a wide variety parish improvements and outreach efforts, social service programs operated by Catholic Charities Maine, scholarships to Catholic schools and other faith-building programs.

The money won’t be used for political campaigns, such as the church’s opposition last year to same-sex marriage legislation, or for priest sex-abuse settlements, which are covered by insurance, Malone said.

Most of the pledges to the campaign will be paid over a five-year period, Malone said.

The Catholic Foundation of Maine, a separately incorporated nonprofit organization distinct from the diocese, overseen by a board of trustees comprised primarily of laypeople from across the state, will manage the donations.

Sixty percent of the funds will be held in endowments and invested in a range of professionally managed, separate portfolios, Malone said.

Twenty-five percent of the amount raised by each parish – about $10 million overall – will go to support parish-established endowments and current local needs.

Fifteen percent will be spent on immediate projects and programs throughout the diocese. None of the money raised provides any direct benefit to the bishop, staff at the chancery, or for staff and trustees of the foundation.