Diocese’s current initiatives are distinct, yet related

The Diocese of Salina has started three major initiatives at more or less the same time, which can be a bit confusing, admits Father Randall Weber, vicar general and chairman of the Diocesan Plan Implementation Committee, which is charged with implementing  the Stewards of Hope pastoral plan.

He summed up the differences, and similarities, this way:

• A capital campaign, called “Yesterday, Today and Forever,” is being implemented in three waves: autumn 2010 in the eastern parishes of the diocese, early 2011 in the central parishes and spring 2011 in the western parishes. It will end next summer.

The capital campaign is a one-time-only effort to raise $15 million for four basic needs: priests’ retirement, the education of seminarians, Catholic Charities, and diocesan support for parishes as they implement Stewards of Hope. It also will raise money this year only for the Catholic Community Annual Appeal.

• Stewardship, on the other hand, is a way of life that invites Catholics to offer gifts of time, talent and treasure in gratitude for God’s gifts to them. Stewardship weekends, workshops and conferences, which encourage conversion to Christian discipleship, are now a regular feature of parish and diocesan life.

• Stewards of Hope also is here to stay. It is a comprehensive pastoral plan that will guide the spiritual journey of the Catholics of the Diocese of Salina for at least the next four years.

What is the difference between stewardship and the Stewards of Hope pastoral plan? One is part of the other. Stewardship is Section 2 of the pastoral plan, which has 13 sections in all. When parish stewardship committees promote stewardship, they are promoting one of the most important components of the Stewards of Hope pastoral plan.

All three of these initiatives are related. Contributing to the capital campaign is a form of stewardship. Some of the money from the capital campaign will be used to support the Stewards of Hope pastoral plan. Stewardship is part of the pastoral plan and will merge with it as time goes on.

The diocese will launch the Stewards of Hope pastoral plan on Jan. 1. Bishop Paul Coakley announced the plan in June at a Diocesan Assembly in Hays, and diocesan and parish committees are working to put it into effect.