Local News

Stewardship conference provides valuable experience

By Katrina Genereux/Associate Editor, OND

Father Chuck Huck, Pastor of St. Philip, Bemidji and St. Charles, Pennington, and Maryhelen Chadwick, Director of Stewardship and Communication for St. Philip, were both presenters at a regional stewardship conference held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 26-27.

“It will be a joy to share the success we have seen here at St. Philip’s due to a richer understanding of the word ‘steward’,” said Father Huck in the days leading up to the conference.

The conference, attended by approximately 200 people, is connected to the International Catholic Stewardship Council. Each of the 10 dioceses in Region VIII – which encompasses Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota – was represented at the conference. Nine people from the Diocese of Crookston attended.

Father Huck said he and other members of the parish have had good experiences attending other ICSC conferences in the past.

“We have brought back to the parish valuable insights about being, and helping others be, good stewards of the gifts that God has given each of us. Not just the gift of treasure, but also the gifts of time and talent,” he said. “We gained an understanding of how these gifts, that each person has been given, are to be used in the faith community, but also in our environments of family, friends, work and community at large.”

Chadwick participated as a panelist discussing tools to build and maintain a strong stewardship program.

Father Huck’s two-part presentation, titled “Do You Speak Stewardship-eze”, was geared toward priests and deacons. He spoke about the impact of vocabulary used in homilies and during meetings when discussing stewardship. He also shared about parish events that can help parishioners understand the meaning of being stewards. The second part of the presentation was a panel discussion about best practices for preaching, communicating and living stewardship in a way that inspires discipleship.

“Sometimes priests hesitate to talk about money. I’m looking forward to the conversations coming out of his session,” said Melinda North, Vice President of Parish Services for the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota. She led the conference planning committee.

North said the conference had a good mix of presentations for attendees no matter where their parish or organization is on the stewardship journey, from those with long-standing stewardship committees to those beginning formal stewardship work. The presentation topics included engaging millennials, running capital campaigns, stewardship’s relationship to discipleship and practical tools.

“I’m excited to see the Holy Spirit work in each person there,” North said.

The keynote speakers at the conference were Archbishop Emeritus Robert Morneau of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Bishop Donald J. Kettler of the Diocese of St. Cloud. They presented on the spirituality of stewardship and ways to nurture stewardship in small rural parishes and ministries.

“Bishop Robert Morneau has been speaking, living and teaching others about stewardship for many years. He is going to inspire on many levels,” North said.

“Father Bryan Kujawa, Deacon Michael Arey, Maryhelen Chadwick and I will be able to listen and learn from other priests, deacons, stewardship directors and vendors. We will share experiences, insights and stories about being effective leaders in helping parishes grow through the practice of good stewardship,” Father Huck said.

Official Statements