Queen of Peace was named “Best Stewardship Parish 2010” by the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC). Fr. McGowan was honored as the 2010 recipient of the Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Award for outstanding work in Christian stewardship.
The parish, located in the Diocese of St. Augustine, has a $2.4 million budget and a $2.1 million school budget, yet it doesn’t fund raise for self support. Fund-raisers at Queen of Peace only support causes outside the parish and school needs, including hurricane victims in Haiti, for example.
Stewardship Day 2011
Diocesan Stewardship Day is scheduled for May 12 at St. Bernard Church, Appleton. The day event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The $30 cost includes lunch. The evening event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $10. Register online by May 5 at www.gbdioc.org/stewday. For more information, call (920) 272-8312, 877-500-3580, ext. 8312 or e-mail [email protected]. Diocesan Stewardship Day is partially funded by the Bishop’s Appeal.
“They have a stewardship parish that is incredible,” said Otto. “They built that parish on a stewardship model. They started from scratch. Fr. Jeff is just a very holy man. He’s very pastoral, very loving, very soft spoken.”
Otto heard Fr. McGowan speak at the 2010 ISCS conference, held last September in San Diego. She later presented a stewardship video, produced by Queen of Peace Parish, to the diocesan Stewardship Commission.
“I said, ‘This is the reality of most parish vision statements, what they hope to become,'” said Otto. “I was touched by (the video) and when I brought it to the commission, there were tears in their eyes. When I’ve done workshops, I’ve taken the video. People were just amazed and given hope.”
The video is available online at www.queenofpeaceparish.org. Otto said she was struck by a statement on the site pointing to the people as the church. It reads, “When people say we have a beautiful church, we say ‘thank you and yeah, the building is great too.”
Stewardship Day will mark Fr. McGowan’s first visit to northeast Wisconsin. His one request for his stay is to spend time with Bishop Robert Morneau, another ISCS conference speaker. Bishop Morneau will offer the closing inspiration/prayer on May 12.
The target audience for the day extends beyond stewardship committee members, said Otto. Two rounds of workshops will cover a wide range of topics.
“This year, we are trying to permeate the stewardship message into all areas, all ministries, so we are targeting staffs in all areas of ministry,” she said. “There’s something for young adults, something for youth, for those in charge of RCIA, something for pastors and parish directors.”
An evening event is scheduled for those who cannot attend the day offering. Fr. McGowan will repeat his keynote and facilitate a question-and-answer session. A round of workshops will also be offered.
Bishop David Ricken will preside at Mass at the daytime offering. Those who attend Stewardship Day events will receive special messages from the bishop. He recorded four, one-minute stewardship video clips for parishes to use on Web sites or to show in their gathering space. Materials for a six-week small group sharing project will also be presented.
“Whoever is coming will get a copy of six, one and a half hour sessions based on a Renew model,” said Otto. “Each session includes prayer, discussion and has an action component. You will be asked, ‘Where do I go from here?’ You can meet in homes. It can be done with staffs. The small group sharing is designed to promote and celebrate stewardship.”
Parishes are invited to share their best stewardship efforts for inclusion in a booklet entitled “Celebrating Best Parish Stewardship Efforts,” which will later be available to all parish communities.
“It’s a chance for the parishes to shine in all the things they are doing,” said Otto. “They will be able to contact each other if they want clarification how they did something or what worked the best.”
Otto added that she hopes parishes take a team approach to the day. The more people they bring, the more workshops they can cover.
“All of these workshops will have very practical components,” she said. “There are going to be take-home materials for them to be able to use in their parish. The last two years, we’ve been able to have (Stewardship Day) in the Easter season. It brings so much hope, excitement and possibilities.”