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A group from the Boston Archdiocese that included Regional Bishops John P. Boles and Francis X. Irwin, Father Paul O’Brien, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence, and lay leaders Craig Gibson, Irene Bonner, and Mary Sullivan attended the 2005 International Stewardship Conference in San Francisco this fall. International stewards from around the globe gathered to bear witness to how Christ’s life with us can renew the face of the earth. Hundreds of pastors, parish leaders, diocesan development and stewardship directors, representatives from professional firms, Catholic associations and religious congregation leaders were in attendance.
The conference program not only provided real witnesses to authenticate stewardship as a way of life with Christ in His Church, but it also offered highly practical “hands on”and “how to”sessions. Timely topics by knowledgeable and experienced speakers filled the program. Experts shared their experiences on how stewardship builds up Christ’s Church with tangible fruits of time, talent and treasure. Inspiring liturgies, annual award presentations, engaging receptions and specialized exhibits supplemented this year’s program.
For the first time, the conference was held in California to accommodate those in attendance from states such as Arizona, Washington, Nevada and Texas. In his welcoming remarks, Kansas City Archbishop James P. Keleher cited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’1992 pastoral letter in describing stewardship as being rooted in spirituality.
The primary goal of the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) is to promote the concept of Christian stewardship. ICSC was founded in 1962 through the patronage of Cardinal Joseph Ritter and under the direction of Father Paul F. Kaletta of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In 1965, the council began holding annual conferences in cities throughout the country. Past and present participants experience the Catholic vision of stewardship as a way of life.
Boston will be the host city next October for the 44th Annual International Catholic Stewardship Conference. This will be the second time the city of Boston has hosted the annual conference. The first conference was held in 1994.
Michael Rhodes is manager of the Archdiocesan Stewardship Office.