Welcome to The Catholic Steward. As a service to Catholic parishes everywhere, we have created this blog to assist in sharing best practices around developing Stewardship within parishes. Here you will hear from individuals who have worked on implementing stewardship within their own parish and diocese. These individuals bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience.
The following is a brief profile of each of our initial contributors:
Msgr. Thomas McGread
Beginning in the 1960s, Msgr. Thomas McGread built one of the most vibrant parishes in the country by teaching parishioners how to use their personal gifts, or what he called “time, talent, and treasure.” Msgr. McGread was influential in the drafting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, which adopted his terminology and theological vision. Msgr. McGread’s message is so compelling that he has been invited to parishes and dioceses across the country, and has also been the keynote speaker at several ICSC conferences.
Msgr. P. James Costigan
Msgr. Jim Costigan introduced stewardship at St. Mary on the Hill parish in Augusta, Ga., more than 15 years ago. By following the direction and example of Msgr. McGread, Msgr. Costigan successfully transformed St. Mary’s into a Total Stewardship Parish. In addition to a weekly Mass attendance that is about twice the national average, and their continued increases in parishioner involvement, perpetual adoration has been ongoing for more than ten years, the 500-student parish grade school is tuition-free, the parish offertory continues to increase and is approximately $75,000 per week, there are no second collections and all of the parish ministries and outreach efforts are funded through the parish offertory. Today, he is the pastor of St. Peter the Apostle in Savannah, Ga., and is in the early stages of introducing and developing stewardship there.
Fr. Allan McDonald
It has been nearly 15 years since Fr. Allan McDonald introduced stewardship at his former parish, Most Holy Trinity, which is a very diverse inner city parish of 1,100 households in Augusta, Ga..Over time, the parish experienced an increase in Mass attendance, began many new ministries, and saw a large increase in parishioner involvement. The offertory tripled, and a $2 million restoration of their historic church was completed without incurring any debt. In recent years parishioners’ children were able to attend a neighboring Catholic school without paying tuition. In 2004, Fr. McDonald was re-assigned to St. Joseph parish, and has experienced similar results in developing St. Joseph as a stewardship parish.
Fr. Dave Zimmer
Father Dave Zimmer and the parish of St. John the Apostle, where he has served as pastor since 2002, have been committed to developing stewardship as a way of life since 2005. After attending the Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference in Wichita in March 2005, Fr. Dave began taking formal steps to introduce the spirituality of stewardship. In this short time, this parish of approximately 650 households has experienced deepened spirituality, especially in liturgies. They have seen significant increases in participation in parish ministries. Under Fr. Dave’s pastorate, they have also expanded the number of ministries based on feedback from parishioners and have seen increases in financial participation, as well.
Deacon Don McArdle
Deacon Don is the CEO of Catholic Stewardship Consultants and a Deacon at St. Mary on the Hill in Augusta, Ga. Deacon Don works closely with parishes from across the country on all aspects of developing stewardship as a way of life and has particular expertise in working to develop lay leaders within the parish.