Editor’s note: The passing of our friend and longtime advisor Msgr. Thomas McGread in April was a tremendous loss to all who came to know him and work with him in developing stewardship as a way of life. But Msgr. McGread’s legacy will continue to live on through our work and through this blog, as we are fortunate to have in our archives many of his writings and teachings. The Catholic Steward will continue to share these with our followers as we continue to live Msgr. McGread’s vision for stewardship and evangelization in the Church.
When I arrived at St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita in the 1960s, I was the fourth priest assigned to the parish in three years. So, as you can easily understand, it wasn’t’ a very happy situation. It was quite a challenge.
You can imagine the rumblings at St. Francis in regard to the clergy situation. Furthermore, the finances were in terrible shape. So, one of the things I suggested to the leaders of the parish – which I had done at the parishes I was at beforehand – was to develop stewardship as a way of life.
Both the pastoral and financial council wouldn’t hear of it. They said, “no we cannot do that above all things,” and, so, I asked them what they were going to try instead. They tried a variety of things, and some of their efforts got me into all kinds of trouble – as if I was supporting them.
One of the things the councils decided to do – which was popular at the time – was to publish the names of people and how much money they gave. Of course I told them it would be a disaster, but the only one who paid for it was myself when angry parishioners kept calling. From then on, I made sure the numbers of the members of the councils were posted so they could receive the angry responses instead.
The councils were perplexed why I would be bothered, and I told them it was because I opposed the whole idea and I didn’t want any of the parishioners thinking I was OK with it.
Finally, when it didn’t work, the councils came back to me and said they would try what I originally wanted to do – develop stewardship. With that, everything began to change.