The following timeline is a proven effective way of communicating the annual stewardship renewal:
Pray together as a parish for a successful parish stewardship renewal. Remember, the first thing Jesus did before a big event was pray. Pray your parish Stewardship Prayer each Sunday Mass during your parish stewardship renewal.
Announce Coming Stewardship Events – September 10-11
Let everyone know what is going to take place over the coming weeks using pulpit announcements, bulletin articles, website updates, and announcements at individual parish ministry meetings, letters to grade school and PSR parents, and on the parish marquee sign.
Parish Stewardship Mailing – September 12-16
Send each parishioner a cover letter from the pastor, a stewardship one-page reflection, a stewardship covenant card, and the annual parish stewardship report.
Review the Annual Parish Stewardship Report – September 17-18
Before you ask parishioners to consider a greater stewardship commitment, you need to demonstrate to your parishioners that the parish is a good steward of the gifts that are given. Parish priests should refer to the report during Mass.
Stewardship Awareness Sunday– September 24-25
Your parish priest(s) give a Stewardship homily.
Lay Witness Talks – October 1-2
A member of the parish family should speak at all Masses (and possibly at other parish meetings and events) about his or her own personal stewardship journey.
Showcase Parish Ministry Opportunities – October 8-9
Highlight the many ways that parishioners can generously participate in the parish. Consider a Festival of Ministries, Ministry Catalog, Procession of Ministries, or other activity.
Time For Reflection – October 10-14
Parishioners should be asked to spend time in prayer, reflection, and discussion with their family members regarding their stewardship covenant.
Stewardship Covenant Sunday – October 15-16
Encourage parishioners to complete and return covenant cards that indicate how they will participate more generously in the life of the parish. This should include prayer, ministry opportunities, and a financial giving covenant. The most effective way to collect covenant cards is allowing time at Mass to complete the cards with a special collection ceremony during Mass.
Follow-Up – October 17-21
If a parishioner does not return a covenant card, the parish should make an effort to follow up and ask the parishioner to please return the card. Follow-up can be done with a phone call, letter, email, or invitation to an informational meeting.
Appreciation and Accountability – October 17 and ongoing
All parishioners who return covenant cards should receive a letter, email, or phone call thanking and welcoming them. The entire parish should see the results of the stewardship effort in the bulletin.
NOTE: If your parish cannot celebrate Stewardship Awareness Sunday on September 26th, that’s okay. For best results, schedule your Stewardship Awareness Sunday events into the “natural flow” of your parish calendar. Stewardship activities should “complement,” not compete with other parish activities.