Tidbits from the Regional Stewardship Conference (July 2018)

Tidbits from the Regional Stewardship Conference (July 2018)


Last week I attended the Regional Stewardship Conference in Sioux Falls with over 200 others from Minnesota, North and South Dakota.  We were warmly welcomed by the staff of the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota and the Parish of St. Michael’s.  I wanted to share some of the highlights of the conference with you


The keynote addresses were live-streamed on Facebook.  You can access and watch them here:

Posted by Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota on Friday, July 27, 2018

In the first keynote,  the Most Reverend Robert F. Morneau shared five convictions regarding Stewardship.  He broke open the statement:  “Stewardship is to receive God’s gifts gratefully, to nurture and tend God’s gifts responsibly, to share them justly and charitably and to return God’s gifts abundantly.    Bishop Morneau has been writing and speaking about Stewardship for many years.

The second keynote given by the Most Reverend Donald Kettler, Bishop of St. Cloud Minnesota, focused on nurturing Stewardship in a small, rural parish or ministry – a topic which seems particularly useful in our Diocese.

Breakout Sessions:

The conference also offered 12 breakout sessions split into three sessions.

I enjoyed the opportunity to hear Dr. Chris Burgwald, Director of Adult Discipleship and  Evangelization for the Diocese of Sioux Falls speak on the importance of prayer.  He said, “If stewardship is the response of a disciple, what does it mean to be a  disciple?  It means to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, and the name of that relationship is prayer.”

Dr. Burgwald is a wise and delightful speaker and gave us many practical insights into persevering in prayer.  In the Catechism, the Church quotes St. Therese, “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”  (CCC2558) Dr. Burgwald witnessed to the transformative power of developing a habit of gazing at God when speaking of this quote.

When we remember to keep the eye of our mind and heart fixed on Jesus, it transforms our prayer.  Then we begin to intentionally dialogue with a person.  This deepens our conversation and assists us in developing the habit of listening to God and not falling into a pattern of doing all the talking.

I also enjoyed the presentation by Darryl Dziedzic, a Youth Minister from Altomonte Springs, FL.  Darryl shared his own story, growing up Catholic, spending some time discerning the priesthood, eventually leaving seminary, marrying and his career as a teacher and youth minister.  Darryl had good advice on how best to engage millennials and was a delight to listen to.

One interesting note:  Although Social Media plays a very important part in the life of a young person in our culture, a ministry’s presence there only becomes effective after engaging that young person in a face-to-face encounter.  Once the young person knows you, knows that you have a genuine interest in their well-being, then and only then, does a connection on social media with you become important to them.

Please keep in mind that this regional conference is held every year somewhere in Region VIII.  It is a good opportunity to learn more about Stewardship and how it can be lived out in the parish.  As
information becomes available about it, I will pass it on.

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Stewardship Parishes Communicate Well

Yesterday, I came across a video of Fr. Adam Hofer, the Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rapid City on Facebook.  Fr. Hofer is sitting around the manger scene inviting and welcoming people to participate in the Christmas Masses at Blessed Sacrament. He has a warm and joyful disposition about him as he invites people to gather around the Manger to welcome Emmanuel into their lives, families and world. It is a short 47-second video with a simple greeting of welcoming parishioners, guests and really all to Blessed Sacrament Parish for the Christmas Masses.  Check it out. Well done Fr. Hofer!  http://blessedsacramentchurch.org

I also noticed this post on Facebook this week: “Blessed Sacrament Church. St. Thomas More Students did an excellent job in decorating the parish hall for Christmas Eve. Thank you.” (8 pictures included in post.)

Posted on Instagram:  “Father Dillion took kids out caroling on a hayride, met with first communicants, and ended the night with adoration, a lesson on Lectio Divina, and confession (almost 2 hours). Great night in Bonesteel!”

The St. Francis Christmas play in Sturgis is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaintFrancisSturgis

Benedictine College posted a beautiful video for Christmas of a live nativity scene and Sr. Joan Kolbe Kjerstad plays the role of Mary:  https://www.thegregorian.org/2017/watch-benedictine-college-shares-evocative-nativity-story

As parishes work through the process of becoming a stewardship parish, the first phase or tier is to become a Foundational Parish.  One of the characteristics of a foundational Parish is: “Our parishes use a variety of communication methods that are useful and effective for the unique culture of the parish.”

The use of parish webpages and social media for your parishes can be a great way to form your parishioners in the faith and to attract new ones or those who have left the faith for a time, encouraging them to come back.

            As our Office of Stewardship visits with pastors and stewardship committees about becoming stewardship parishes, we encourage parishes to have to have current and up-to-date webpages. Here are some webpages that we think are pretty good:







            Thinking about all of this week after seeing Blessed Sacrament Rapid City, Immaculate Conception in Bonesteel, in St. Francis in Sturgis on Facebook and Instagram I came across 19 reasons* you should include visual content in your marketing. Here are a few that I think apply to the marketing we do and evangelization in our parishes and diocese.

1) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and the Zabisco

2) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco

3) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source: AnsonAlex

4) Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz

5) Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured

6) Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. (Source: Shareaholic

7) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources: comScore and Nielsen

8) Over 60 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on YouTube.com. (Source: YouTube

9) 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. (Source: YouTube

10) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa

11) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos

*19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing. Written by Amanda Sibley @AmandaSibley