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BLOOMFIELD Parish involvement and love for the Catholic faith were two themes stressed at a regional meeting of the International Catholic Stewardship Council at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary .
Colleen Corriveau, director of the Office of Stewardship in the Archdiocese of Hartford, said more than 40 representatives of 15 dioceses attended the day-long meeting, held in the Archdiocese for the first time. "It was definitely an impressive showing in terms of dioceses, a very good showing of people," she said.
Mark R. Dollhopf, executive director of the Association of Yale
(University) Alumni, stressed the importance of parish involvement, especially by influential members of the community. "People of power and influence and substantial financial resources are not involved. Why?" he asked.
Some of the blame can be placed with parish leaders, he said. "Donors want to be engaged in the decision-making processes in the Church. They want to be able to make a difference. But what do we do as a Church? Stay back. Give us your money. Stay back," he said.
Attendees offered other possible reasons: Influential people do not feel welcome in grassroots parish activities; they dont feel the same power in a parish as they do in the community; they dont feel they make a difference at the parish level; and they dont perceive the parish as the "real world."
Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable, spoke on "Stewardship and Development as a Ministry."
Ms. Corriveau said that Ms. Robinson emphasized that people one cant understand the need "to give back your time and talents unless were in love with the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell greeted the gathering after an opening prayer by Father Joseph Creedon, Pastor of Christ the King Parish in the Diocese of Providence, R.I. Ted Bruttomesso, director of the Hartford Archdioceses Office of Development, gave the welcoming speech.
Michael Murphy, executive director of the ICSC; and Jim Friend, facilitator of a roundtable discussion, were featured in the afternoon session.
The archdioceses of Boston, Hartford, New York and Newark were represented. Also attending were representatives of the dioceses of Allentown and Erie, Pa.; Bridgeport; Brooklyn, Rochester and Rockville Centre in Long Island, N.Y.; Camden, Metuchen and Paterson, N.J.; and Portland, Maine.
ICSC was founded in 1962 to promote the concept of Christian stewardship, the generous sharing of "our God-given gifts of time, talent and treasure," according to its Web site,www.CatholicStewardship.org.