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International Catholic Stewardship Council

INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL

The International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) had its origin in a 1962 meeting in St. Louis, organized by Reverend Paul Kaletta, of diocesan directors of development on their concerns. The group first called itself the National Association Council of Diocesan Financing, then the National Council of Diocesan Support Programs, then the National Catholic Stewardship Council (NCSC), and adopted the present name in 1999. The formulation of a constitution and bylaws and the election of the first officers occurred in 1967. The episcopal moderators have been Bishops Albert Zuroweste (Belleville) 1967 to 1974, from 1971 to 1974, co-moderator with Edward E. Swanstrom (auxiliary, New York); and William G. Connare (Greenburg) 1974 to the present. Reverend Robert Deming (Kansas City-St. Joseph) was first executive secretary and the Kansas City chancery the first, temporary headquarters. Father Kaletta (d. 1974) served as the Council's first chairman.

Early progress included the Publications Committee's Parish Stewardship Educational Program, known as the "red kit" because of its red cover. It furnished parishes with a variety of instructional materials on stewardship including a three-weekend stewardship program whereby parishioners received a biblical and spiritual concept of stewardship (first week), introduction of stewardship of time and talent (second weekafter which they were invited to carry out an apostolate of their choice), and to stewardship of money (third weekafter which they were asked to sign a pledge to contribute a certain amount of money to their church each week).

During his chairmanship of the NCSC, 1972 to 1974, Monsignor Charles Grahmann (San Antonio) became aware of three needs: (1) to expand the NCSC operation by giving more emphasis to stewardship of time and talent; (2) to move the office to Washington, D.C. in order to form a relationship with the USCC-NCCB; and (3) to find a full-time executive director to carry out the Executive Board's policies in a professional manner. At the tenth annual conference in Tucson in October 1973, participants voted to support all three areas.

On Feb. 4, 1974, Francis A. Novak, CSSR, then engaged in stewardship work in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, was elected NCSC's first full-time executive director. His mandate was to develop catechetical and pastoral programs on the total concept of stewardship.

In 1975, the NCSC published its first major program, Stewardship of Money, A Manual for Parishes, as an answer to requests from Ordinaries, development directors, pastors, and lay persons on parish and pastoral councils for assistance to solve parochial and diocesan fundraising problems. It used the biblical teaching of returning to God a proportion of his material gifts, together with Vatican II's doctrine of co-responsibility, to explore the deeper meaning of the gifts of Eucharist. NCSC's second major program was published in 1976, Stewardship of Time and Talent, A Parish Manual for Lay Ministries. It fostered the development of lay ministries using some of the theological insights on ministry emerging from Vatican II. It has participated in the development of the NCCB Principles and Guidelines for Fund Raising (1977).

The ICSC is a member organization covering 18 regions throughout the world, with most found in North America, including all 13 United States episcopal regions. It serves arch-dioceses, parishes, professional firms, religious congregations, and Catholic associations through its seminars, publications, and annual conference. A number of committees attend to the mission of the ICSC, including those that focus on economic concerns, parish stewardship education, diocesan programs, and communications. Its primary concern continues to be to promote a biblical concept of Christian stewardship in which generosity of time, talent, and treasure are construed as God-given gifts. Its mission is to foster an environment in which stewardship is understood, accepted, and practiced throughout the Catholic Church. The Council promotes the concept that stewardship is not simply an appeal for funds; it is a way of life. ICSC publishes a journal, Resource, and facilitates a bilingual diocesan and parish exchange program on various facets of stewardship. ICSC has also sponsored the Comprehensive Diocesan Development Survey, an instrument that reports and analyzes information on annual appeal programs provided by arch/diocesan offices of stewardship and development. The Center of Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) conducts the research and writes the report for ICSC, which has been prepared almost yearly since 1992.

ICSC has hosted two international, multilingual Stewardship Seminars, held in Rome in 1973 and 1998. The First Annual Institute for Stewardship and Development, which provided a comprehensive introduction to the basic principles and techniques of stewardship and development, was held in Marriottsville, Maryland in 1993. Subsequent institutes have been held in Danville, California, and Mundelein, Illinois. ICSC's Board of Directors accepted a proposal in October 1993 from The National Planned Giving Institute at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, to train diocesan executives and others in the area of planned giving.

Bibliography: NCSC Publications: Stewardship of Time and Talent, A Parish Manual for Lay Ministries (1976); Stewardship of Money, A Manual for Parishes (1975); Money as an Offertory Gift (1977); Stewardship: Symbolic Presence of the Christ Event for the Church Today (1976). m. r. madden, Gladly Will I Spend and Be Spent: A Brief History of the National Catholic Stewardship Council, 19621997 (Washington, D.C. 1998); NCCB, Stewarship: A Disciples Response (Washington, D.C., 1992); Resource (1993), ICSC, Stewardship and Development Guidelines for a Diocesan Office (Washington, D.C., n.d).

[p. j. hayes]

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