“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which he is to bless people now.” St. Teresa of Avila
A good friend of mine said that St. Teresa of Avila should be my patron saint. She had very bad headaches and as my friend knows, I get very bad migraine headaches. Of course that must have been his way of inviting me to read about the life of St. Teresa of Avila. One of the things that struck me in her writings is this quote. I keep it by my desk because it’s a reminder for me why I am in the Stewardship and Development Department of the Archdiocese of Chicago, instead of an advertising agency in Hawaii.
I have been blessed by God in many ways and He has provided me with opportunities to share these gifts with others, one of which is through my work here in the Archdiocese. Stewardship calls us to recognize that all that we have is a gift from a loving God and that we are called by God to receive these gifts gratefully, use them fully and to share them with others. Our staff works with parishes, big or small, rich or economically challenged, ethnically diverse or otherwise, as well as with archdiocesan agencies, to promote stewardship and sound fund raising practices derived from these principles.
Our Department of Stewardship and Development is the Parishes’ and Agencies one-stop shop for:
- Increased offertory programs.
- Stewardship education workshops and training.
- Capital campaign planning.
- Planned Giving Marketing, including seminars, newsletters and billboards.
- Individual major gift and planned giving consultation.
- The Annual Catholic Appeal.
Most of our parishes, if not all of them, are aware of the services we provide for the Annual Catholic Appeal. However, we do more than that. Our annual training, scheduled either in late spring or early summer, offers pastors, business managers and parish leaders an opportunity to learn more about the principles of stewardship and the services we provide in our department.
From my experience, responding to this call, living a life of stewardship is not without its challenges. In a recent ICSC stewardship networking conference I attended, our very own Fr. Steven Lanza, pastor of St. Julie Billart said in his homily, “Following Christ’s new way of life entails a great deal of risk-taking because the world is based on division, exclusion, all sorts of fences and hedges – as well as violence, greed, materialism and individualism. Servants of God practice a radically different lifestyle characterized by community, sharing, sacrifice and peace-making – the fuel for which is given to us by divined grace. All good things are a gift from God in Christ. So the question becomes – will we build a wall around the gifts we are given to preserve those gifts and hoard those gifts or will we share our many gifts with others?” (June 22, 2011 mass, St. Pius X Parish, Grainger, IN)
We hope that you can join us in our “All Star Summer Training” this year so we can share with you some ideas that can help your parish respond to this call. This year we are doing our training on July 12, from 10AM- 2PM at the Cardinal Meyer Center. There is no cost to attend and lunch will be provided. To register, or for more information, call our office 312-534-7614. We hope to see you there!
For more information on Stewardship, visit our website.