New stewardship director embraces role

Lindsay Steele
Diocesan Director of Stewardship Jennifer Praet works in her office at St. Vincent Center in Davenport.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Director of Stewardship Jennifer Praet relishes the opportunity to develop relationships and engage with the faithful. “It’s been inspiring to observe and become part of the passion, wonderful work and missions of all those who work and live in the diocese,” said Praet, who assumed the role in December.

In her role, Praet said she is responsible for “cultivating the involvement in and support of the mission and ministries of the Diocese of Davenport.” This involves initiating, managing, leading and guiding the stewardship ministry of the diocese and interacting with other stewardship organizations on a local, regional and national level. She works with the Stewardship Commission to develop a network of volunteers and leaders around the diocese and to provide leadership opportunities.

Praet also oversees the diocese’s development efforts. “I have responsibility for the (Upon This Rock) capital campaign, the Annual Diocesan Appeal and the Catholic Foundation, as well as writing and overseeing any external grants.”


Praet is a graduate of Alleman High School in Rock Island, Illinois, and earned a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Illinois University. She has offered therapy services in a nonprofit setting and led management, development and marketing efforts for nonprofit human services and education organizations.

These diverse experiences helped prepare Praet for her current role. Counseling, and other roles within the social work realm, involve developing relationships with individuals and helping them to define and focus on their goals. “My role now is very similarly based in building relationships and listening to others, facilitating stewardship that promotes connections, engagement and service to grow the resources within all areas of the diocese.”

She acknowledges that leading stewardship efforts is not always easy. One of the biggest challenges is simply sharing the message of stewardship — what is it, how it’s integrated into the work of the diocese and how one lives as a steward.

“As Christian stewards, we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord. Stewardship aims to engage all to bring faith, hope and love throughout our diocese directly supporting the work of the Catholic Church by helping to feed the hungry, defend the vulnerable, shelter the suffering, support religious vocations and strengthen Catholic formation.”

Praet and her husband, Michael, have four children. Her hobbies include watching their sports and extracurricular activities, visiting new places, gardening and engaging in creative projects.

She is thankful for the support she’s received from the people of the Diocese of Davenport as she settles into her new role. “Everyone I have had the opportunity to meet and work with thus far has been extremely welcoming.”

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