By NANCY CZABALA
The Stewardship and Development Council was created by the Office of Stewardship and Development to help promote the idea of being a steward for the diocese. Council members from each deanery have established their own plan for advocating the Diocesan Development Fund and the Stewardship Office; they’ve embraced their duty of educating parishioners.
While plans are varied, everyone has sought to educate their local parishioners of the good that comes from the DDF. Simon Bula, council member from Precious Blood of Christ on Pawley’s Island, says, “Parishes need to educate parishioners about what really happens with funds from DDF; where and to whom the money is allocated.” He stressed that parishioners, after giving monetarily, should see and realize the good that they are doing for the destitute of their community.
Father Charles Snopek, Bula and parishioners of Precious Blood of Christ have sought to help such outreach centers as St. Ann’s in Kingstree and St. Cyprian’s in Georgetown through approved grants from the DDF. The nuns at these two facilities, as Bula described, work hard to keep kids off the street by keeping them in educational and social activities. At St. Ann’s good work, such as completing homework, allows kids to receive points, which they work very hard for. Points then allow children to take field trips to places like Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Parents, who recognize the positive effect the program has on their children, also enjoy taking part in the field trips.
Wallace Rodgers of St. William Church in Ward says the Midlands Deanery members are focusing on helping their parishioners stay in touch with the diocese. He says, “We used to not know much about where funding went and we didn’t have much dialogue with the diocese.” Rodgers says St. William’s has gained strength in its weekly offerings, and now has almost 100 percent participation in the envelopes — “People are taking enough pride in themselves to donate even $1.”
St. William’s continues an on-going dialogue with its parishioners about finances and the work of the diocese. “The stewardship program has allowed people to be informed about where their money is spent; and now they see that they’re contributing to the diocese,” says Rodgers.
Also at St. William’s the parishioners have made a successful effort in getting their Hispanic community involved in parish and diocesan projects. They used to give money to support projects that were going on in their small community, according to Rodgers. He says, “How can they ever feel like they belong (to the parish/diocese) if they’re not given the opportunity to help support it.” A portion of their offering now goes to the parish, which helps create a sense of belonging, says Rodgers.
Kenneth Anderson of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Mauldin says that in the Piedmont Deanery the council members focus on evaluating the needs of each parish. They go in teams of two or more to parishes, asking, answering and receiving questions. The members deal directly with the priests, informing them of the details of the DDF and discussing how they will go about implementing the program in their parish. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton places stewardship and development articles in the bulletin to keep parishioners informed about the DDF program.
Although slowly, Anderson says, “We are making progress.”
Paul Heinauer of Stella Maris on Sullivan’s Island says more organizations need to be informed that they can apply for grants from the DDF. “There are many organizations that have a need for money, but don’t realize they can apply for assistance,” says Heinauer.
Members in the Coastal Deanery have spent much time visiting organizations and evaluating their needs. Recommendations are made to the entire council membership about where to allocate funds in their area. Heinauer says, however, what is available to give depends on the amount of participation in the DDF.
The leaders of the DDF, Sandy Ferencz and Greg Bowden of the Office of Stewardship and Development, commend the council. “We tried to locate people in various areas,” says Ferencz. Although, she says, we need more representation from the Pee Dee and Piedmont Deaneries, we’ve formed “a real advisory committee which gives advice on how we can do our job better.”
Bowden says, “The Stewardship Council does more to influence the bishop’s views on DDF than any other 32 people in the diocese.”
Diocese of Charleston
Stewardship and Development Council
Msgr. E. Christopher Lathem
Sister Mary Thomas Neal, OLM
Msgr. Leigh Lehocky
Wallace A. Rodgers
Msgr. Charles H. Rowland
Pee Dee Deanery
Msgr. Thomas R. Duffy
John C. Kost
Father Charles Snopek
Msgr. Chester Moczydlowski
Ron Rossi Sr.
Dr. Jack Vanderwood
Chancery Office Members
Bishop David B. Thompson
Msgr. Sam Miglarese
Jay E. LeVan
Dr. Gay Rowzie (Ex-officio)
Sister Susan Schorsten, HM (Ex-officio)