November 11, 2011

Retired archbishop’s legacy of stewardship praised at meeting

Jeffrey Stumpf, left, archdiocesan chief financial officer, gives a presentation during the annual meeting of the board of directors of the Catholic Community Foundation on Nov. 2 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Jeffrey Stumpf, left, archdiocesan chief financial officer, gives a presentation during the annual meeting of the board of directors of the Catholic Community Foundation on Nov. 2 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

The legacy of Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein in promoting stewardship as a way of life in the Church in central and southern Indiana was praised during the annual meeting of the board of trustees of the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) on Nov. 2 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

The CCF oversees endowments that support parishes, schools, agencies and other ministries across the archdiocese. (Related story: Historic estate gift announced at Catholic Community Foundation meeting)

When Archbishop Buechlein began his leadership of the archdiocese in 1992, the CCF managed 72 endowments whose net assets totaled $9.4 million.

“Isn’t it extraordinary today to be able to remember that we [now] have 393 endowments and net assets of $171 million,” said Msgr. William Stumpf, moderator of the curia, at the meeting. “Under Archbishop Daniel, the net assets of the foundation increased an outstanding amount—1,719 percent.”

In the past fiscal year alone, the CCF’s assets grew by 18.75 percent from $144 million to $171 million. Approximately $7 million from those endowments was distributed over the past year to support ministries across southern and central Indiana.

“We have accomplished a lot of good for all of our parishes, our schools and for our agencies throughout the archdiocese,” said Msgr. Stumpf, who was also the principal celebrant during a Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral that began the CCF meeting. “And it’s happened through the work of the Catholic Community Foundation. And I’m confident … that the direction in which we’re headed is a very, very bright one and a very positive one.”

Part of that hope is based on the current strong financial state of the archdiocese that Jeffrey Stumpf, chief financial officer, discussed during the meeting.

He noted that the archdiocese ended its eighth consecutive year of having either a surplus or break even operating budget on June 30.

“And believe me,” Stumpf said, “in the Church in the United States today and in non-profit organizations in general in our economic climate, we’re very pleased to be able to say that.”

He also reported that, except for one year when there was a slight decline, Sunday and holy day collections continue to grow steadily in parishes across central and southern Indiana.

“You read in the paper about many non-profit organizations suffering revenue declines,” Stumpf said. “It’s not uncommon to read numbers in the 25 to 30 percent range. But our parishes, in fact, have been incredibly resilient.”

At the same time, Stumpf acknowledged some challenges in the archdiocese’s financial status. One is the pension fund for retired priests, which he said is currently underfunded by $10 million.

“That plan is funded through the annual Christ Our Hope appeal,” he said. “As we mark celebrations of the sacraments in the Church, a Church that requires priests to celebrate our sacraments, we ask that you continue to support that appeal to support our seminarians and our retired priests through this retirement plan.”

Nonetheless, Stumpf said he believes that the overall financial strength of the archdiocese, combined with the strong legacy of stewardship left behind by Archbishop Buechlein, will allow the next shepherd of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to lead from this strength.

“While it’s too early to predict what the priorities of our next archbishop will be,” Stumpf said, “certainly this legacy of fundraising success throughout our archdiocese leaves a solid groundwork for the next archbishop to come in and continue the aggressive priorities on our archdiocesan ministries that Archbishop Buechlein has helped fund.”

(For more information on the Catholic Community Foundation, log on to www.archindy.org/ccf.)

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