The Parish and Diocesan Bishop’s Faith Appeal Chairs put the coffee pot to work at their Mid-Year Meeting on June 28 at Lupe Tortilla in Beaumont.
The evening meeting provided everyone the opportunity to workshop in large and small group sessions involving their successes and struggles with their Bishop’s Faith Appeal (BFA) pledges that support diocesan ministries. This enabled everyone to develop solutions to help diocesan ministries continue to prosper.
“The challenge isn’t a number, it’s reaching those not in the pews,” explained Lettie Lanza, Director of Stewardship and Communication at the Diocese of Beaumont, summarizing the input that others shared.
The solution? Invite these people to join ministries, listen to their input, show them respect and continue to develop a sense of family.
“Last year taught us to care for one another. We learned that we are a family and it’s important to remind people that they are part of the family too,” said Lanza.
Another common struggle many parishes faced was how to reach someone that speaks another language.
“We brought in someone who speaks Spanish to help explain things,” commented Suzie Vestal from Immaculate Conception – Liberty. “Once we did, we met and surpassed our goal. They were the ones to do it.” Their parish has seen an increase in Spanish speaking members, which created unforeseen language barriers.
Once a parish’s goal is met, 100% of the overage goes directly back to the parish it came from to help with instances such as parking lot repairs, a new tabernacle or new air conditioning units that might not have been initially budgeted. “That 100% came back to us,” said Vestal. “It was great!”
Solutions continued to develop through the evening’s meeting including: alternative payment methods on BFA envelopes, including prayer cards at Mass so people can take them home, Pew Art Cards for children to share, and to continue educating parishioners about what the Bishop’s Faith Appeal is, does and means to their parish.
“Helping people understand where their donations are going will open their hearts,” Lanza said. “If we can do a better job of evangelization, we will do a better job on stewardship.”
The final solution of the night was simple; prayers.
“Prayers are very important,” Lanza emphasized. “God works in amazing ways to make changes. We could all use prayers no matter how little they are.”
Morline Guillory, Associate Director of Philanthropic Services, encouraged all chairs to redistribute the Prayer Pledge Intentions Cards and to bring them to the Intentions Mass on August 23 at 6:30 PM at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica in Beaumont.
For more information about the Bishop’s Faith Appeal, visit https://www.dioceseofbmt.org/ministry-offices/office-of-stewardship-communications/bishops-faith-appeal-2/.