September 30, 2011

Stewardship promoters reflect on archbishop’s commitment and leadership

Jackie Byers, left, speaks to Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein after a press conference announcing his retirement on Sept. 21. Byers, a member of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, is past president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council. Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, right, the archdiocese’s new apostolic administrator, talks with Kevin Rader, a reporter for WTHR Channel 13 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

Jackie Byers, left, speaks to Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein after a press conference announcing his retirement on Sept. 21. Byers, a member of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, is past president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council. Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, right, the archdiocese’s new apostolic administrator, talks with Kevin Rader, a reporter for WTHR Channel 13 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

By Sean Gallagher

When Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein became the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1992, L.H. Bayley was just beginning his service on the archdiocese’s finance council.

“He had a new job, and so did I. And I told him that I hoped he knew his job better than I knew mine,” said Bayley, a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, after attending the Sept. 21 press conference at the Archbishop O’Meara Catholic Center in which Archbishop Buechlein announced his retirement.

Over the course of the next 19 years, Archbishop Buechlein, Bayley and scores of other Catholics across central and southern Indiana worked hard to encourage Catholics from all corners of the archdiocese to live stewardship as a way of life.

The end result was that, thanks to Archbishop Buechlein’s leadership, approximately $300 million was raised through the annual stewardship appeal and separate capital campaigns.

These funds made possible building projects in parishes, schools and charitable agencies across the 39 counties of the archdiocese.

Additionally, endowments managed by the archdiocese’s Catholic Community Foundation grew from $5 million to nearly $170 million over the past 19 years.

The funds distributed annually from the endowments will support archdiocesan, parish and educational ministries for years to come.

Bayley, a former president of the board of trustees of the Catholic Community Foundation and co-chair of two archdiocesan capital campaigns, said he was grateful for the opportunity to work with Archbishop Buechlein over the years.

He was also moved at the press conference.

“It struck my heart,” said Bayley.

“I’m very thankful that my life got to cross with the archbishop’s life, and that he helped me realize the call that came my way through certain positions and responsibilities,” Bayley said. “For all of those things, I’m very grateful. He has inspired me in many ways.”

Daniel Conway was also grateful for having had the chance to learn about stewardship from Archbishop Buechlein. He led the archdiocese’s Office of Stewardship and Development from 1993-97, and is currently a consultant for mission advancement for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Conway, who studied at the former Saint Meinrad College and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology when Archbishop Buechlein was its president-rector, is now known nationally as a leader in promoting stewardship as a way of life.

“There is not a bishop in the entire United States and, I dare say, the entire world, who is better at a comprehensive understanding of stewardship and development than Archbishop Buechlein,” Conway said. “He is the best there is.

“I learned a lot from him. And I think I was privileged to help him establish stewardship and development as a way of life here in the archdiocese. I think that legacy will last for many, many years.”

Don Horan more recently worked with Archbishop Buechlein to secure that legacy. He and his wife, Barbara, members of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, were co-chairs of the 2010 Christ Our Hope annual appeal. He is the current president of the board of trustees of the Catholic Community Foundation.

Working with the archbishop helped him see just how much effect that stewardship has across the archdiocese.

“Until we were actively involved in the Catholic Community Foundation,” he said, “and until Barb and I traveled around the archdiocese last year with the archbishop talking about the appeal, we really didn’t realize how many lives our archdiocese helps, and how many parishes and charities all over the state that we help along the way. He is a good and faithful servant.”

Now, Don Horan is looking forward to the future of the archdiocese.

“It’s a new page for our archdiocese,” he said. “There will be a new chapter in our book here in central and southern Indiana. This is the beginning of it.” †

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