Best Practices

Many parishes have developed stewardship “best practices” over time. The list below represents some of those best practices. Please contact Dave Baranowski in the Stewardship Office to add your stewardship best practice to the list.

 

  • Advent and Christmas Invitation: Many parishes provide parishioners, neighbors and visitors with schedules of upcoming Advent and Christmas Masses and events.
    • All Saints (St. Peters) mailed parishioners a letter containing Advent reflections, an online giving reminder, a self-addressed Christmas Offering envelope, a list of parish Christmas activities and a bookmark with a picture of the Church on it.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) gave parishioners invitations to upcoming Advent and Christmas Masses and activities and were encouraged to give them to family, friends and fallen-away members of the parish.
    • St. Peter (Kirkwood) gave parishioners invitations to upcoming Advent and Christmas Masses and activities that included pictures of parish staff with a special welcoming message.
  • Annual Parish Ministry Leadership Meeting: Some parishes hold annual parish ministry leader meetings to provide stewardship formation, discuss parish objectives, brainstorm new ideas and provide fellowship with all levels of parish leadership.
    • Assumption (O’Fallon) hosts an Annual Leadership Summit that includes a prayer service, stewardship formation and guest speakers.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) hosts an annual meeting that includes stewardship formation, parish objectives review, brainstorming session and a prayer service.
    • St. Margaret Mary Alacoque hosts an annual meeting that includes stewardship formation, parish objectives review, brainstorming and guest speakers.
  • Annual Parish Stewardship Plan: Parishes should develop an annual parish stewardship plan and put it in writing. Many parishes have a “mental” plan but fail to put it in writing. This leads to poor planning, poor communication, poor execution, poor enhancements and a “lukewarm” stewardship effort.
  • Annual Parish Stewardship Report: Most stewardship parishes distribute an annual parish stewardship report to all parishioners that highlights parish prayer, participation and generosity for the year. These are usually distributed and discussed during the annual parish stewardship renewal. It is recommended to send the report to all registered parishioners, even the people you haven’t seen in a while.
    • Click here for a template you can use to create your own Parish Stewardship Report.
  • Appreciation Event: Many parishes host annual appreciation events to honor their parish volunteers.
    • All Saints (St. Peters) hosted a parish appreciation event during their annual parish stewardship renewal and gave everyone pens and note pads with the parish name on it.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) hosts an annual appreciation breakfast in the spring to honor all the parish volunteers. The priests, parish staff and grade school teachers serve the parish volunteers. A video highlighting various parish ministries is shown and everyone receives a small gift.
  • Appreciation T-Shirts: Reward parish volunteers with special t-shirts to wear at parish events.
    • St. Joseph’s (Farmington) rewards workers at their annual parish picnic with a special t-shirt. The t-shirt has become a source of parish unity and encourages volunteers to help.
  • Back to School Mass
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) has a “Back to School” Mass the Sunday before school starts. At 11:00 am Mass all grade school, PSR and Home School students are invited to bring their backpacks to Mass to receive a blessing. After Mass, the school is open for all to tour. The day includes fun activities for the students and food trucks. Mass is overflowing with parents and students. Click here to see the Backpack Blessing tag each student received.
  • Black History Month
    • Sts. Teresa and Bridget parish celebrated Black History Month by featuring the lives of Catholics of African descent throughout their church and parish hall. The parish has also created a timeline of the National Black Catholic Congress on display in the parish hall.
  • BookmarksSt. Pius V provides quarterly bookmarks with daily scripture reading to help parishioners read the New Testament in one year.
  • Bring a Friend to Mass: St. Francis of Assisi in South County has started "Bring a Friend to Mass" followed by a pancake breakfast as a way of inviting people to be part of the parish community. The parishioners are inviting people who have never attended Mass or don't attend Mass on a regular basis.
  • Catholic School Week: Many parishes that have a Catholic grade school invite the grade school children to take part in the Sunday Mass at the start of Catholic School Week.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) has grade school children hand-out hand-written “thank you” cards for supporting Catholic education to all parishioners as they are leaving each Mass.
    • St. Gerard Majella has grade school children read the announcements, Scripture readings and Mass intentions and take up the Offertory at all Masses.
  • Children’s Offertory Envelopes: Some parishes invite their children to use Children’s Offertory Envelopes to help train them to be future generous givers.
    • St. Anthony of Padua (High Ridge) offers Children’s Envelopes to their PSR students. The children voted on how the money was to be used. They purchased a statue of Jesus surrounded by children.
  • Children’s Stewardship: Some parishes include their grade school and PSR students in their parish stewardship activities.
    • St. Alban Roe conducted an art contest for their Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade PSR and grade school students. The winning drawings were featured on the cover of the weekly bulletin during their parish stewardship renewal.
    • Mary, Queen of Peace grade school in Webster Groves is celebrating their 10th anniversary of children's stewardship formation. Each grade level (K-8th grade) has a different stewardship theme. The school year starts with an all-school Mass, has three Stewardship Activity Days throughout the year and ends with an all-school Stewardship Mass and Rally.
  • Children’s “Tithing” Friday Mass: Most parishes encourage their children to be generous.
    • Sacred Heart (Troy) has “Tithing Friday” School Mass the first Friday of the month. A collection is taken at Mass and one of the grades is designated to bring the money to the altar during offertory. This practice has helped develop a routine of giving and is enjoyed by the students.
  • Christmas Generosity: Many parishes hold an annual Christmas “Giving Tree” or “Secret Santa Fund” to help collect presents and money for those who are struggling financially.
  • Christmas Gifts: Many parishes give parishioners and visitors a “present” at Christmas Masses. Catholic books are very popular. Well-known authors like Scott Hahn and Matthew Kelly usually offer discounted prices on bulk purchases.
  • Community Service: Many parishes are expanding their stewardship and evangelization efforts beyond their parish borders.
    • St. Simon parish has developed a new ministry called "Community Outreach" which is a great example of stewardship beyond our parish borders. Click here to see a schedule of events.
  • Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University: Help your parishioners be better stewards of all their money, not just the money they give to Church and charity. Dave Ramsey is a well-known Christian financial advisor who bases his financial principles on Bible Scripture. The course is one night a week for 9 consecutive weeks. Several parishes hold these on a regular basis. For more information go to Dave Ramsey’s website (DaveRamsey.com) or contact Dave Baranowski in the Stewardship office.
  • Electronic Offertory: This is a tool that allows parishioners to make their offertory gift and second collections online. Many parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis utilize one of the approved suppliers.
    • Click here for a link to the approved suppliers.
    • Click here for more information on electronic offertory.
    • For parishes that utilize electronic offertory, many promote its availability regularly (at least once in month) in all forms of parish communication.
  • Encourage Greater Mass Attendance: Many parishes are becoming creative in encouraging greater Mass attendance on Sunday, weekdays and Holy Days of Obligation, especially for children. 
    • At Immaculate Conception (Arnold) any grade school student attending Sunday Children’s Mass receives a “dress down pass” to use during a school day.
    • Our Lady of the Presentation holds a beautiful candlelight Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Festival of Ministries: More parishes have success with the Festival of Ministries when they combine it with a current parish social event that includes good food & drink and/or children’s activities. Hint – when other parishioners see people in parish ministry having fun, they are more likely to join!
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) holds their annual parish Fall Festival immediately after their annual “Mass in the Grass”. It features indoor and outdoor games, activities, food & drink and live music. Each of the ministries hosts one of the attractions. Signs are given to each ministry at each activity. Ministries have information available to discuss with parishioners as they move from activity to activity.
    • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne incorporates children’s activities into their annual Festival of Ministries based on the annual stewardship theme. In 2015 “Build My Church” included a miniature church made of building blocks that the children could play with. In 2016 “God Showers His Mercy On Us” included a “shower of fun” that had confetti and bubbles along with other kid’s activities and special guests.
    • St. Simon hosts a “Progressive Dinner” instead of the typical ministry fair. School classrooms are used for the “appetizer” portion of dinner and the various ministries host each of the classrooms. Dinner is served in the gym, banquet style, and parishioners move to different tables and various ministries host each table. A parish video is also shown. Dessert is served in the cafeteria with music.
    • St. Alban Roe held Mass in their gym on the weekend the parish conducted their Festival of Ministries. The parish ministries were on display in the gym and ministry representatives were available to answer questions. Once Mass concluded, all the parish ministry information was available right there, no need to walk to another building. The parish had a good turnout and plenty of new sign-ups.
    • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne's 2017 Festival of Ministries included a wine & cheese reception after 5 pm Mass on Saturday, followed by donuts after all Masses on Sunday while parish ministry leaders were available in the parish hall with ministry displays and sign-up sheets. After 10:30 Mass, Fr. Tom Wyrsch led the parish children on a treasure hunt through the parish grounds. Click here to see a video recap of their Festival of Ministries and to hear a recording of Fr. Tom’s stewardship homily.
    • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne - During their annual parish renewal, Fr. Tom Wyrsch held a Pinata Party after 10:30 am Mass on the front lawn. Click here to see pictures.
  • Free LessonsOur Lady of the Presentation (Overland) offers free piano and guitar lessons and math tutoring for students and free Spanish classes for adults.
  • Gift Discernment: One of the major barriers to parishioner participation in parish ministry is that parishioners are unsure what gifts they have to help the Church. We need to help parishioners discern their gifts:
    • Gallup Strength Finders questionnaire – Gallup has developed a Catholic version that is available online at gallupstrengthscenter.com.
    • Spiritual Gifts Inventory – the Archdiocesan Catholic Renewal Center offers the Spiritual Gifts Inventory workshop at your parish. Contact Jane Guenther, 314.801.8688.
  • Grade School Parent Covenant Card
    • St. Peter (Kirkwood) has developed a Stewardship Covenant Card specifically for grade school parents. This card is in addition to the parish stewardship covenant card that all parishioners complete during their parish stewardship renewal. Click here to download it. (This could also be developed for PSR and Home School parents as well).
  • High School Participation
    • St. Peter (Kirkwood) is trying to incorporate their high school students into their parish stewardship initiative. Most high school students are required to perform service hours. Various parish ministries identified service projects that high school students can participate in. A "win-win" for everyone.
  • Home Visits: Assumption (O'Fallon) makes home visits to fellow parishioners who have fallen away from the Church. They call ahead to schedule the visit and give the family a Prayer Gift Bag.
  • Lay Witness Speakers: Most parishes include a Lay Witness Speaker as part of their annual parish stewardship renewal.
    • St. Alban Roe developed a short video featuring several different lay witness speakers that was shown at all Masses and featured on their website. A different speaker talked briefly about Prayer (Time), Participation (Talent) and Generosity (Treasure).
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) has a monthly Lay Witness Speaker program in conjunction with their monthly “Donut Sunday”. It is a great way to remind parishioners about stewardship on a year-round basis.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) began recording their monthly stewardship lay witness speakers and posting the recordings on the parish website.
    • Immaculate Conception (Dardenne) developed a custom stewardship pamphlet highlighting key points from each lay witness speaker's talk. The pamphlet was available to all parishioners after each Mass. Click here to view.
  • Lenten Gifts:
    • St. Cletus (St. Charles) is giving patrons of their Lenten Fish Fry a small gift of a crucifix and a Holy Week schedule (both enclosed in a small plastic bag).
    • Mary, Mother of the Church gave out flashlights during Lent with the tagline "Whoever Lives the Truth Comes to the Light" printed on them.
  • Mass in the Grass: Many parishes incorporate an outdoor Mass as part of their annual parish stewardship renewal.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) celebrates "Mass in the Grass" on their baseball fields followed with their annual Fall Festival.
    • St. Gabriel’s celebrates “Mass in the Grass” at Francis Park followed with food and drink for parishioners.
  • Mortgage Burning Party: many parishes celebrate when they pay off major capital expenses, debt reduction or building funds. The key is to keep dreaming of what can be done next to "become the parish the Lord is calling you to be".
    • Immaculate Conception (Dardenne) celebrated a parish milestone in early 2017 - they paid off their building debt! The parish became debt free in March and held a parish festival in June called "Celebrating Our Dream: Debt Free Celebration" which included a "mortgage burning" ceremony, fireworks, music, refreshments, games and movies. This celebration highlighted the parish theme of "dreams fulfilled; dreaming on; becoming the parish the Lord is calling us to be." Msgr. Ted Wojcicki said the festival "exceeded expectations" and the parish is continuing to celebratory spirit and dreaming!
  • My Catholic Giving Guide: As Catholics we are called to give money to support many ministries and missions: offertory, second collections, Annual Catholic Appeal, archdiocesan and parish capital campaigns and your own charitable causes. We are called to be generous and support as many as we can without picking one over the other. Instead of becoming discouraged, plan your giving on an annual basis by budgeting money for each giving opportunity. One tool to do this is the My Catholic Giving Guide. Click here to view it.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) inserts the My Catholic Giving Guide in an early January weekly bulletin along with a letter from the pastor explaining how to use it. The pastor also incorporates this information into homilies periodically throughout the year.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) and St. Francis Borgia (Washington) included a copy of the My Catholic Giving Guide in their annual stewardship mailing to parishioners.
  • Newsletter: Some parishes print a quarterly newsletter and mail to all parishioners and some parishes send weekly e-newsletters via e-mail. 
    • St. Alban Roe distributes a quarterly printed newsletter.
    • All Saints (St. Peters) recently started mailing a quarter newsletter to all parish families. Click here to see an example.
    • Assumption (O'Fallon) mails a quarterly newsletter to all parishioners highlighting parish ministries, stewardship parishioner profiles, parish events and reflections on the curren tliturgical season.
  • Offertory
    • Instead of ushers walking around and handing out baskets to collect offertory, everyone at St. Nicholas is invited to bring their offering to the altar and place their gift into a basket. This simple change goes from an act of just collecting money to an act of gratitude and sacrifice.
  • Online Stewardship Commitment Cards: Several parishes have developed Online Stewardship Commitment Cards.
  • Parish Communication: “Stewardship” should be communicated every month to your parish.
    • The annual parish stewardship renewal should be considered another season of the Church (i.e. Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time).
    • People consume information many different ways. Identify all the different methods your parish communicates with your parishioners. Parishes must be very good at communicating in multiple ways.
  • Parish Graduating High School Senior Letter
    • St. Peter (Kirkwood) sent all parish graduating high school seniors a St. Peter key, a letter from Msgr. Jack Costello and information on where they can attend Mass while at college. The packet is customized for each student and is sent prior to leaving for college. The program has been very well received. Click here to view the letters.
  • Parish Marketing: Regardless of the size of the parish, all parishes perform “good works”, however, very few parishes update their parishioners on a regular basis. Each month recap the good works from the month before and present the information in all channels of parish communication. Hint – look at your parish calendar from the previous month and recap all the religious and parish activities and events.
  • Parish Ministry Leader Handbook: At St. Peter's (Kirkwood) annual parish leader meeting, all ministry leaders are provided a "Ministry Leader Handbook" that includes the parish mission statement, parish vision statement, parish goals, parish staff contact information, how to schedule meeting/event/fundraiser, list of office and audio/visual equipment, communication guidelines, calendar of parish events and the Safe Environment Program details.
  • Parish Ministry Leader Time of Reflection: Some parishes schedule time when ministry leaders come together for prayer.
    • Assumption (O’Fallon) begins their Annual Leadership Summit with a prayer service in the church.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) ends their annual parish leader meeting with a prayer service in the church.
  • Parish Ministry Promotion: Parishes are coming up with creative ways to promote and educate parishioners on the many parish ministries/organizations that are available for parishioners to join.
    • Holy Infant held an “Old Newspaper Boy’s and Girl’s Day” to promote their parish ministries. The “Holy Infant Times” contained information on all their parish ministries.
  • Parish Resource GuideMany parishes have a parishioner directory that includes a summary of their parish ministries with corresponding contact information.
    • Immaculate Conception (Maplewood) developed a Parish Resource Guide that includes not only parishioner contact information, but includes their skills, hobbies and interests. Forms are left in the pews periodically for parishioners to update the information.
  • Parish Service Day: Many parishes hold annual parish service days where they fix maintenance issues on the parish property or help people in need within the parish and within the larger community.
    • Our Lady of Lourdes (University City) and St. Augustine hold an annual “sister parish” service day helping parishioners with household repairs and other needs, including baking bread and delivering it to home-bound parishioners.
    • St. Gabriel holds an annual “Day of Service” as part of their annual parish stewardship renewal by helping parishioners with yard work, painting and light home repairs.
    • St. Simon's Service Day had 150 volunteers help with facility clean-up and light maintenance, delivered potted plants to homebound parishioners and local retirement homes, delivered "birthday boxes" to Hancock Elementary School, delivered sack lunches to New Life Evangelistic Center and delivered care kits to the Covenant House.
  • Parish Sports Team Mass: Some parishes have added Parish Sports Team Sunday Mass throughout the year. Depending on which CYC sport is in season, the parish identifies a Mass on one weekend and encourages the children to wear their uniforms to Mass accompanied by their parents and coaches.
  • Parish Stewardship Prayer: Several parishes have developed or designated a prayer as their Parish Stewardship Prayer.
    • Assumption (Mattese) has a beautiful prayer. Click here to read the prayer.
    • Immaculate Heart of Mary (New Melle) printed labels featuring their Parish Stewardship Prayer and placed them on the back of their misselettes. The parishioners recite the prayer together at the close of their Mass petitions.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) developed their own Parish Stewardship Prayer. Click here to read the prayer.
    • St. Peter (Kirkwood) also developed their own Parish Prayer. Click here to read the prayer.
  • Parish Tithing Committee: Some parishes tithe a portion of their weekly offertory to support Church needs or other charities. A committee is developed to review parishioner grant requests. Second collections may be eliminated and a portion of the weekly offertory is designated to support the specific second collection agency or ministry.
  • Planned Giving: Some parishes provide planned giving options for parishioners as a way of providing charitable contributions to the parish. Contact the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri for more information (Michael Weisbrod, 314.918.2893).
  • Prayer
    •  St. Norbert - before Mass begins, all the liturgical Mass participants (Priest, Deacon, Servers, Lector, Canter, etc.) say a prayer together.
    • Good Shepherd (Hillsboro) starts each stewardship meeting with Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) - a Benedictine practice of scripture reading, meditation and prayer. This is a great way to share your faith with others and to learn from others.
    • Our Lady of the Presentation has activities in May to honor Mary. Parishioners encouraged to bring cut flowers to Mary on 5/1 (The Crowning of Mary); parishioners encouraged to adorn the Marian statue with flowers, plants and rosaries; Miraculous Medal and prayer card to be distributed and prayer petitions brought to Mary on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (5/13).
  • Prayer Cards: Many parishes give parishioners prayer cards throughout the year. However, consider “customizing” the prayer cards for your parish.
    • All Saints (St. Peters) developed a set of 4 prayer cards based on statues of saints that are displayed in their church. One side is a picture of the saint and the back side has a stewardship reflection on it. The prayer cards were given to parishioners during the annual parish stewardship renewal.
    • St. Anne (Littleton, MA) and St. Catherine (Westford, MA) parishes have developed a prayer card they hand out to encourage people to bring their troubles and fears to the Lord.
  • Prayer Groups: Many parishes have both parish-organized and parishioner-organized prayer groups. These are great tools for Catholic formation and fellowship. This is becoming very popular among Catholic men.
    • Immaculate Conception (Arnold) and Our Lady (Festus) parishes have formed a thriving prayer group for men called the "Community of Trancendent Men" that meets on the last Tuesday of the month from 7-9 pm for fellowship and formation. 70-100 men attend monthly and the location alternates between the two parishes. All men are invited to attend.
  • Promote Vocations: Many parishes include weekly prayer intentions to increase vocations.
    • St. Gerard Majella has a “Chalice of Vocations”. Parish families agree to pray for vocations for the coming week and are presented with the Chalice at Sunday Mass. The Chalice rotates to different families from week to week.
  • Retreats: All Saints (St. Peters) conducts "mini-retreats" four times a year on a Saturday morning from 8-11am.
  • Remembrance Garden: Some parishes have built “Remembrance Gardens” in memory of past parishioners.
    • St. Anthony of Padua (High Ridge) built one. Parishioners are invited to purchase a brick and inscribe it. Their garden features an altar, a fountain and two small gardens.
  • Sister Parish Relationships: Some parishes have expanded their stewardship efforts beyond their parish borders by forming “sister” parish relationships. The goal is to develop a two-way parish-to-parish relationship through communal prayer, service and fellowship. Sister parish relationships can be local, regional, national or international.
    • Click here for the link to a list of St. Louis parishes that have developed sister parish relationships.
    • St. Gabriel held their annual Mass in the Grass at Francis park and invited their sister parish, St. Matthew, to join them. Musicians from both parishes joined together to provide the music. Chicken dinners were enjoyed by all afterwords.
  • Stations of the Cross: Many parishes have outdoor Stations of the Cross.
    • Annunciation built “The Way of the Cross” outdoor Stations of the Cross garden next to their church. It is illuminated at night and a video tour of the garden is available on their parish website. The video was shot using a drone.
  • Stewardship Bulletin Updates: Many parishes provide weekly updates on the offertory collection in the bulletin. Be sure that they are clear and concise for all parishioners to understand. Some parishes also include weekly updates on parish Prayer (Time) and Participation (Talent) events and activities.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) publishes a weekly “Steward’s Corner” page in the bulletin providing updates on Prayer, Participation and Generosity. Click here for a sample.
  • Stewardship Committee: Most parishes that have a formal stewardship initiative also form a separate stewardship committee. Some “smaller” parishes (500 families or less) incorporate the stewardship committee into their parish council.
    • Should be a composite of all your parish so that everyone is represented.
    • Pick people with different points of view; healthy debate is good.
    • Give each member a specific role. Click here for a list of Committee Member roles.
    • Have staggered term limits for members (3 year minimum) and rotate new members on each year.
  • Stewardship Homily: Most stewardship parishes are given stewardship homilies throughout the year and particularly on the parish annual Stewardship Sunday by the parish priest(s).
  • Stewardship Logo: Some parishes have developed their own stewardship logo and use it on all parish communication:
    • Annunciation has developed their own parish stewardship logo. Click here to see used at the top of their Youth Stewardship Guide.
    • The Archdiocesan Stewardship Office has developed a logo for all parishes to use in their parish communication. Click here for the link to the logo.
  • Stewardship Mass Intentions: Many parishes include a weekly stewardship intention along with their other Mass intentions. 
    • Click here for the link to the weekly stewardship Mass intentions.
  • Stewardship Props: Several parishes have built “props” to enhance their annual parish stewardship renewal.   
    • Our Lady Queen of Peace is very creative in developing “props” to support their annual parish stewardship renewal. In 2015 Our Lady Queen of Peace had the stewardship theme of “Get in the Boat and Row” so they built a cardboard boat and placed it near the altar to reinforce the theme. In 2016 the theme was “God Showers His Mercy On Us” and they had a large umbrella with rain drops titled for different gifts that God “showers” on us.
    • St. Peter (St. Charles) gave every parishioner a paper fish with their name on it and encouraged the family to return the fish when they returned their stewardship commitment card. As fish were returned, the paper fish were hung on a net near the altar. 
  • Stewardship Scripture Reflections: Many parishes add a weekly stewardship scripture reflection in their Mass bulletin.
    • Click here for the link to the Stewardship Scripture Reflections
  • Stewardship Video: Several parishes have developed Stewardship Videos to be used during their annual parish stewardship renewal.
  • Stewardship Commitment Card Collection: Parishes that conduct an annual parish stewardship renewal have a process for collecting the parishioner’s stewardship commitment cards, usually designating the final weekend as Commitment Card Sunday.
    • Mary Queen of Peace has their grade school children hand-out and collect the commitment cards during Mass and then takes all the commitment cards in a large basket to the altar.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) renamed “Commitment Card Sunday” to “Covenant Card Sunday” to emphasize the annual renewal of the sacred bond/covenant with God in gratitude for all He has given us. A ceremony was held at all Masses to allow parishioners time to discern/pray about their gifts. Grade school and PSR students handed-out “covenant cards” to each parishioner at Mass. The parishioners completed the cards during the discernment/prayer time and then the grade school and PSR students ushered each parishioner to the altar to place their covenant card at the foot of the altar. Several grade school and PSR students held baskets at the altar.
  • Stewardship of Treasure Commitment Cards: Most Catholics are generous, but not always in proportion to the gifts they have been given. It is important to remind parishioners to review on an annual basis their financial support to their parish and Church.
    • All Saints (St. Peters) developed a stair step design for their commitment card. Each stair step listed the amount of giving and the number of people at that step. Each parishioner as asked “What is your next step in stewardship?”
  • Strategic Offertory Review: Some parishes do an annual review of their parish offertory tools:
    • Increased Offertory Programs – click here for a list of approved suppliers. Many parishes successfully incorporate this program into their annual parish stewardship renewal.
    • Electronic Offertory – click here for a list of approved suppliers.
    • Envelope Usage – check with your envelope supplier, you may be able to customize your parish offertory envelope at no cost.
    • Children’s Envelopes – implement to train future generous givers.
    • Visitor’s Envelopes – make them available when visitors will be at Mass.
    • Pass Large Offertory Baskets – get rid of the long-poled baskets used by ushers, pass a large basket from person to person.
  • Tithing: Some parishes educate and encourage parishioners to tithe (give 10% of their gross income. 5% to parish and 5% to other Church needs and charity).
    • St. Theodore included tithing information in their weekly bulletin. Click here for more information on tithing.
  • Welcoming: This topic is the number one priority for most parishes. Most parishes are “friendly”, few are “welcoming” - there is a big difference!
    • St. Simon has developed a "buddy family" for new parish families. The new family is connected with an active existing family of similar demographics. The existing family joins the new family at Mass and other parish events and activities.
    • Immaculate Conception (Arnold) makes an announcement before Mass begins for everyone to take a couple of minutes and introduce yourself to everyone around you.
    • St. Clement of Rome hosts the “Friday Night Event” on the first Friday of the month. This kid-friendly, family event features Reconciliation, Mass, Dinner and a Guest Speaker. Baby-sitting and kids activities are included. This event is open to all people within the Archdiocese.
    • St. Cletus issued formal name badges to parishioners several years ago and encourages them to wear them to Mass so everyone can address each other by their first name during the Sign of Peace. Temporary name badges are available to those who forgot or are visitors.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) hosts an annual “Family Day at SFA” on the Sunday prior to the start of the new school year. This event welcomes back grade school and PSR students. The event features fun activities, food and a backpack blessing. The entire parish is invited to attend.
    • St. Francis of Assisi (Oakville) hosts an annual new parishioner dinner in January for all new parishioners from the previous year. Parish ministry leaders serve dinner and drinks. It is a good night of fellowship for all.
    • At the end of Mass, Fr. Art Cavitt at St. Nicholas asks if there are any visitors to the parish. Each visitor introduces themselves and the people clap for all the new visitors.
    • At St. Nicholas, Fr. Art Cavitt has time for "Good News" at the end of each Mass. He asks parishioners to share any good news from the last week and the parishioners participate and share wonderful, personal stories.
    • St. Norbert - at the beginning of Mass, all parishioners are asked to say "hello" to the people around them and introduce themselves to any visitors or new parishioners.
    • Mary, Mother of the Church provides name badges to all parishioners and the pastor, Fr. Chuck Barthel, highly encourages everyone to wear them at Mass.
    • Assumption (O'Fallon) has a Visitor's Podium in the lobby of the Church. All visitors at Mass are recognized and invited to the podium after Mass to speak with one of the parish priests.
  • Will & Trust Seminars: Some parishes host Will & Trust seminars every few years to educate parishioners on the subject and remind them to include their parish in their will or trust. Contact the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri to schedule (April Esenwah, 314.918.2892).
  • Yard Signs: Many parishes use yard signs to promote Catholic causes, parish events and registration opportunities. Some of the topics include Christmas, grade school registration, parish registration and pro-life. 
  • Year-End Contribution Statements: Most parishes provide parishioners with year-end contribution statements for tax purposes.
  • Youth Stewardship Commitment Cards: Some parishes invite the parish youth to be part of their annual parish stewardship renewal and have them complete a Youth Stewardship Commitment Card.