CHARLESTON — As schools and colleges around the state held graduation exercises in early June, a graduation of a different sort was taking place at Blessed Sacrament Parish. The parish’s first Financial Peace University (FPU) class graduated June 2. FPU is a biblically based 13-week outreach ministry that offers a proven process for improving financial management within the family.
Father Joseph Hanley, pastor at Blessed Sacrament, said in a press release that the program was part of the parish’s stewardship effort.
“Families all around us are looking for direction when it comes to getting ahead financially,” Father Hanley said. Many families, couples, and singles live paycheck to paycheck, causing financial stress in their lives. It’s a leading cause of marital problems within the home. As a parish, our stewardship effort should start in the home and address these problems.”
Walter Frick, who coordinated the effort, said that the stewardship committee searched for existing financial planning programs. The goal was to find an objective, non-commercial program that worked. Dave Ramsey, who offers his advice on a nationally syndicated radio program, developed Financial Peace University.
“FPU is an excellent program that provides the needed direction to improve a family’s financial picture,” Frick said. “This initial class was able to cut up 52 existing credit cards; avoided tempting offers of an additional $6,000,000 of credit by shredding 121 credit card applications received in the mail; and reduced debt by $230,000 and saved over $55,000.”
Graduates of the program described it as life-changing, and suggested that it should be offered to engaged couples. Others commented that it helped them manage their time better so they could focus more on their children.
Blessed Sacrament Church will sponsor another Financial Peace University in the fall. The classes are open to the Catholic community. Previous students are welcome to come back for a refresher course. Orientation nights are scheduled for Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.