Yesterday the Diocese of Orange's Orange Catholic Foundation orchestrated a day long stewardship conference and there wasn't an open seat to be found.
Over 130 attended with representatives from parishes all over Southern California. Theme for the conference was "Stewardship-A Way of LIfe in the Diocese of Orange. St. John Neuman parish in Irvine hosted the event.
Keynote Speaker was Father Tim Ramaekers from Corpus Christi parish in Aliso Viejo. His talk focused on practical ways to build parishioner engagement. Other speakers shared their expertise and advice in a total of nine breakout sessions featuring topics from "Understanding the USCCB Pastoral Letter" on stewardship to "Volunteer Management and Ministry Design to "Using Social Media to Engage Your Parish."
Several parishes hosted exhibit tables featuring success story materials for others to model.
"Today's turnout was outstanding", exclaimed Orange Catholic spokes person Debbie Leaverton, "We hope to build on this event as the commitment to stewardship spreads."
Like other dioceses in the US, the Diocese of Orange is working to change the perception of stewardship from mandatory money contribution to one of sharing time, talent and treasure as by the product of an engaged commitment to Christ.
There are over a million and a half Catholics in this diocese, roughly 40% of the population. They offer a wealth of talent for parishes to tap.
Too often many think of Catholics as those who simply punch a time clock for an hour on Sundays.
Yesterday's attendance at the Diocese of Orange Stewardship Conference did much to dispel that perception.