Yooper Catholics have always been a generous family, giving of their time, talents and treasure to build up the church. Since the days of Venerable Bishop Baraga, Yooper Catholics have been leading people toward Jesus Christ by the very example of how they live their lives as Christian stewards.
During times of boom and bust, Catholics rally to carry on the traditions and life-saving ministry of the Church. Today the Church is faced with declines in members, Mass attendance and Sunday offertory – but there are also signs of growth and vitality! Many of those signs are made visible by the work of the diocesan department of stewardship and development.
The vision is for an effective diocesan ministry that calls every Catholic to be a faithful steward. Stewardship is a Christ-centered way of living that begins with baptism and is life-long. The work of the department revolves around developing leadership and resources to advance the church’s mission. Here is a look at some ways the department works to engage the faithful. It is their active stewardship that sustains the Church and brings hope for the future.
Various programs, services and communications are managed by the department that help to educate and assist individuals, pastors and parishes with stewardship formation. The department manages a growing number of opportunities for people to give of their time, talents and treasure.
One area of growth is legacy gifts that are being received by parishes, Catholic schools and the diocese. A robust planned giving program invites people to remember the Church in their estate planning. There are regular direct mailings, websites, monthly emails and social media, and parish-based programs that introduce planned gift strategies. Personal stories from other Catholics who have made a bequest in their own estate plan to benefit the Church after their lifetime, are powerful influencers. Legacy gifts serve to preserve and extend our Catholic heritage in our own parish and in the diocese.
Vocations program support is another area of recent growth. There has been an outpouring of support for seminarians from around the diocese. The Yoopers for Seminarians initiative serves to unpack and show all that is involved in preparing our seminarians to serve our diocese as priests. It includes the “Path to Priesthood” newsletter, mailed to all households three times a year. While the vocations director, Rev. Ben Hasse, manages the content of the communications, the department of stewardship and development provides critical support functions such as mailing list maintenance, donor services and gift acceptance.
Another area of active ministry is the U.P. Catholic Foundation, which holds over 30 permanent endowment funds that provide dedicated support to parishes, Catholic schools, Catholic Social Services of the U.P., and a handful of diocesan ministries like vocations, evangelization and faith formation. People are also giving their time and talents to serve on advisory boards that are charged with stewarding the specific mission of each fund. Strong endowments and strong Catholic leaders are ensuring new revenue sources for future needs of Catholic ministries throughout the diocese.
This level of activity requires dedicated resources (human and fiscal). The U.P. Catholic Services Appeal helps to provide the resources to push out external communications that meet people where they are to inform, inspire and engage them in their faith; to tend the generous gifts that people are giving in a responsible and accountable way; to provide the programs and services that form faithful stewards.
To learn more please visit the websites listed below or contact Terri Gadzinski by phone at (800) 562-9745 ext. #108 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
God will never be outdone in his generosity. Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga knew this, and today’s generous Catholics know this. Be a generous steward with your gifts, with your life, and just watch what He will do!