Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 2004
Stewardship creates spiritual change
Special to the WCR
Stewardship can create a climate for spiritual change in a parish, says Jim Kelley, director of development from the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C.
When a parish embraces stewardship it can lead to an increase in daily attendance at Mass; increased participation at Eucharistic Adoration; more numerous and more vibrant ministries (both inside and outside of the parish); formation of small faith groups; increased attendance at Sunday Mass and increased vocations, Kelley said.
About 400 people from 75 parishes attended the second annual Stewardship Days May 14 and 15 at Holy Trinity Church in Spruce Grove.
Kelley, the keynote speaker, is also the author of several books published by the International Catholic Stewardship Council.
He stressed that stewardship is not about fundraising to meet the needs of the Church or about volunteer recruitment.
Rather, he said, stewardship is a way of life based on an individual's need to give thanks for the gifts he has received.
He encouraged those present to tend to their God-given gifts and return them abundantly to the Lord through their personal contributions of time, talent and treasure to their parish and to society as a whole.
Today's society throws up many obstacles to people adopting a stewardship lifestyle. Those obstacles include consumerism, materialism, individualism, spiritual blindness, and a secular focus on self and pleasure, he said.
But Kelley said that, with a conversion of heart, those obstacles can be overcome.
The conference, sponsored by the Archdiocesan Stewardship Office, also heard from representatives of parishes who are working to make stewardship a way of life in their parishes.
Archbishop Thomas Collins said we will settle for nothing less than "deep stewardship" - stewardship as a way of life, not a program.
Stewardship is not a program, but a permanent orientation for the archdiocese, he said. It will be implemented carefully and systematically. And St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman Theological College are the top institutional priority within the archdiocese.
Overall, evaluations returned after the conference were favourable and 56 people expressed interest in becoming involved with stewardship efforts in their parish.
Those interested in getting a more detailed picture of the stewardship conference may order a video of the event from the Stewardship Office (469-1010).