In July, 67 parishes received incentive checks from the diocese, totaling nearly $476,000.
The generosity of parishioners of these parishes showed a remarkable response to God’s call to help one another and contributed greatly to the 2019 Catholic Stewardship Appeal (CSA19) surpassing the goal for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
To emphasize the mutual dependence of a diocese and its parishes, any parish that met or exceeded its CSA19 goal was awarded 10 percent of that goal and 90 percent of the amount received in excess of the goal.
“We are one Church family helping one another,” Bishop W. Shawn McKnight said. “When God blesses the diocese beyond our budget, the remainder should go back to the parishes where most of ministry takes place.”
By the end of CSA19 last March, there were 30 more parishes meeting their CSA goals than in the previous year.
One of those was St. Pius X parish in Moberly, which climbed from under 75 percent of its goal in CSA18 to 122 percent of its goal in CSA19.
Father Philip Niekamp, pastor at St. Pius X, reported that the sharing formula helped parishioners understand that they were part of something bigger than themselves.
“This is what being in the Catholic Church is all about,” Fr. Niekamp said, “uniting our efforts — whether its time talent or treasure — to building a community, a family.”
According to Deacon Joe Braddock, chief financial officer for the diocese, the $2,464,170 raised in CSA19 was the most in the history of the campaign. The total represents a 15-percent increase over the previous year.
Deacon Braddock attributed part of that success, as Fr. Niekamp did for his parish, to an increase in participation across the diocese.
“Bishop McKnight’s message of gratitude must have struck a chord, because CSA19 was able to reverse an annual decline in the number of parishioners contributing to the CSA,” Deacon Braddock said.
Monsignor Robert A. Kurwicki, vicar general and a member of the CSA committee, praised the work of the priest deans in the diocese.
“Our deans took a very active role, encouraging and supporting the promotional work of the pastors in their deaneries,” Msgr. Kurwicki explained.
“Of course, weekly reports and a little healthy competition didn’t hurt anything,” he added.
The Westphalia, Kirksville and Jefferson City deaneries surpassed their cumulative parish goals. The Mexico and Columbia deaneries reached more than 98 percent of theirs. The Sedalia/Lake Ozark deanery had over 1,000 contributors.
The amount of money returned to parishes originally was supposed to be only that raised in excess of the $2,145,000 allocated for diocesan ministries. Even though the parish incentives cut into the diocesan portion, Bishop McKnight thought it important to pay the 10 percent of achieved goal and 90 percent of overage.
“All of the flooding, tornados and agricultural distress this year could put a lot of strain on our parishes and we need to support them as much as possible as they deal with uncertain income and heightened pastoral needs,” Bishop McKnight said.
“When we talk about sharing,” he added, “it has to work both ways.”
In CSA20, which begins in October, parishes once again will have the opportunity to benefit from success, as the same formula will apply this year.