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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