Some 300 parish leaders, fundraisers and clergy attended the annual Regional Stewardship Day Conference held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham on Saturday, April 9, 2011. The conference was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Dioceses of Charleston, Charlotte, Raleigh and Savannah, with the goal of informing and inspiring those entrusted with leading stewardship efforts in parishes throughout the region. Twenty-one parishes in the Diocese of Raleigh sent delegates.
The Conference opened with a keynote address by Carlos Proaño, one of the founders of Guidance in Giving, Inc., and Executive Vice President of the company’s Hispanic and Multicultural Division. Guidance in Giving has been involved in conducting parish and Diocesan stewardship campaigns throughout the U.S.
Mr. Proaño, a native of Quito, Ecuador, spoke about his journey as an immigrant to the U.S., his introduction to the Church in North America and the lessons his developing faith had taught him about the nature of stewardship. One delegate described his address as "refreshing, uplifting and empowering."
Following the keynote, Mr. Proaño conducted one of the six breakout sessions. Topics included “Recruiting, Managing and Communicating With Volunteers,” “Starting a Parish Stewardship Effort” and “Stewardship in a Multi-Cultural Parish.”
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, celebrated a Vigil Mass at conclusión of the conference. In his homily, Bishop Burbidge compared earthly life to a pilgrimage. “A pilgrimage reminds us that here and now we need not travel alone,” he said. “It is my hope and prayer that this weekend reinforced that reality for you as you spent time with your colleagues in ministry.
“In your generous service, you invite people to share their gifts and blessings with the Lord and His Church,” the Bishop continued. “You have many skills and abilities to assist you in that work, yet the most effective means is for you to reflect for others joyful hope.”
Many of the delegates to the Conference expressed their appreciation for the program. One multi-year attendee called it one of the most inspiring such meetings to date.
Mr. Timothy Breslin, Director of Stewardship and Advancement for the Diocese of Raleigh, expressed gratitude to his staff for its role in organizing the meeting. “To successfully gather nearly 300 leaders from parishes in five Dioceses across the South to share best practices in all aspects of stewardship, I would have to say the conference was a resounding success,” he said.
“While no two parishes are identical, the sharing of successes and failures from the presenters as well as fellow attendees creates a greater opportunity for future success across our Dioceses," Mr. Breslin added. “The conference hopefully will assist parishes across the South to foster a greater sense of community and increased involvement from parishioners, so that their time and talents can be used to most effectively create and grow the many ministries alive in our churches.”
Above: Mr. Timothy Breslin, Diocesan Director of Stewardship and Advancement, addressing the Regional Stewardship Day Conference on April 9.
Above: Mrs. Colleen Assal, Pastoral Associate at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Greensboro, presenting workshop on Recruiting, Managing and Communicating with Volunteers.
Above: Mr. Carlos Proaño, conference keynoter, conducting one of the six workshop sessions.