Diocesan Stewardship Day: tools to transform the life of your parish


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Father Jake Greiner promotes stewardship as a way of life at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport, where he serves as pastor. “There’s no other way of sustaining the parish and all of the ministries of the parish without everyone practicing stewardship. At Our Lady of Victory we try to promote and live stewardship as much as possible.” Stewardship, he explains, “is the understanding that everything we have is a gift from God, everything, and how we respond to that, to give glory and honor and praise to God.”

Bishop Zinkula

One way to respond: participate in Stewardship Day, a diocesan event to be held March 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary Parish in Riverside. Bishop Thomas Zinkula will be the keynote speaker, sharing his own stewardship story. All are welcome to the free event, which includes lunch, and is sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor, Liturgical Publications Inc., and the Annual Diocesan Appeal.

“The purpose of the day is to further people’s understanding of what stewardship looks like and how to practice stewardship both in our lives and in our parishes,” said Diocesan Stew­ardship Dir­ector Dan Eb­ener. “Steward­ship really is a way of life that incorporates everything we’re about and everything we do.”


In addition to Bishop Zinkula, other speakers will share insights in a number of workshops aimed at providing participants with doable ideas to take back to their parishes. Jim and Kathy DeMong of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton will present a workshop on Lay Witness Talks. “Catholics don’t do a good job of talking about their faith,” says Diocesan Development Director Andy Gaertner, who also serves on the Diocesan Stewardship Com­mission. “Having people talk a few minutes about their faith inspires other people to do just a little bit more in their own faith lives.

“We’re trying to give parishes resources so that immediately after these workshops they can turn around and implement them in a very simple way without a lot of work,” added Gaertner, who will lead two workshops. One focuses on marketing and evangelization and the other on funding parish ministry.

“The kinds of things I’ll be talking about with the marketing workshop include how to promote your parish using different media, how to use your location and parish signs as a marketing tool and how to maximize the impact of your parish website.” Funding parish ministry will explore low-cost ways of increasing parish revenue, including how a parish can conduct its own increased offertory program. Gaertner will also talk about capital campaigns, planned giving and how to maximize special events to gain more revenue.

Another workshop will look at the U.S. bishops’ groundbreaking pastoral letter on stewardship, published in 1992. Fr. Greiner and Judy Johnson, Diocesan Stewardship Com­mission members, will share how this document can enrich participants’ spirituality and transform the life of their parishes.

Kathy Hammerly and Tim Stammeyer of Sacred Heart Parish in Newton will give a workshop on Children and Stewardship. They’ll talk about how childhood is an appropriate time to purposefully nurture and cultivate generous, giving hearts and hands.

Several speakers will present a Volunteer Recruitment workshop. Deacon Terry Starns, Parish Life Coordinator at St. Andrew Parish-Blue Grass; Laurie Hoefling, Staff Support for the diocese; and Bill Graf, a member of St. Thomas More Parish-Coralville and the Diocesan Stewardship Commission, will share their experiences of inviting and affirming volunteers supporting their ministries.

Jim Tidaback of Our Sunday Visitor will give a workshop titled How Our Sunday Visitor can help your parish with offertory enhancement and other stewardship programs and resources. Keith Alberts of Liturgical Publications Inc. will give a talk on Simple Online Tools to Help Grow Your Ministry.

“The goal of our Stewardship Commission is not only to have the Stewardship Day on an annual basis, but to have four major workshops throughout the year,” Gaertner said. “The commission is looking to retool so that any parish that wants assistance, we can provide it,” Fr. Greiner added.

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