February 2, 2018

Archbishop Buechlein nurtured stewardship as part of the life of faith

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein presents a Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) service award to St. Luke the Evangelist parishioner L. H. Bayley of Indianapolis, who previously served as president of the CCF board of trustees, during an annual meeting of the board on Oct. 24, 2007, in Indianapolis. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein presents a Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) service award to St. Luke the Evangelist parishioner L. H. Bayley of Indianapolis, who previously served as president of the CCF board of trustees, during an annual meeting of the board on Oct. 24, 2007, in Indianapolis. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

L. H. Bayley has been a leading business figure in Indianapolis for more than 40 years.

Chairman of the board since 1978 of David A. Noyse, an Indianapolis-based wealth management firm, Bayley knows what makes for a successful business leader.

And he saw some of those qualities in Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein, particularly in his ability to attract and keep capable co-workers and delegate important tasks to them.

“That’s how you run a business,” said Bayley, a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. “I’ve served as president and CEO and all the other titles. And I know the great gift of being able to delegate to other people and, most of all, to choose the right management team.

“He did that. He constantly had the right management team.”

Bayley observed Archbishop Buechlein closely throughout the archbishop’s 19-year tenure of leading the Church in central and southern Indiana as the two worked together in promoting stewardship as an integral part of the life of faith of all Catholics.

But it was not Archbishop Buechlein’s sharp management acumen that attracted Bayley to give so much of himself to the archdiocese, but his pastoral heart.

He paused as he considered how closely he worked with Archbishop Buechlein in two major capital campaigns, annual stewardship appeals, on the archdiocesan finance council and through the archdiocesan Catholic Community Foundation.

“I have a personal gratitude that he helped me to see God’s call,” Bayley said with emotion. “He helped me to recognize that. I was so grateful for the call to work in the archdiocese. So I look back on him and I get a little choked up.

“He helped me to realize the pleasure of stewardship.”

The pastoral heart with which Archbishop Buechlein approached stewardship produced concrete results. More than $300 million was raised in capital campaigns and annual stewardship appeals to support the archdiocese’s mission of proclaiming the word of God, celebrating the sacraments and exercising the ministry of charity.

The Catholic Community Foundation, charged with managing endowments which support archdiocesan parishes, schools and agencies, grew tremendously during his tenure, with 337 new endowments established with a value of more than $100 million.

Archbishop Buechlein was in part able to be such an effective leader in promoting stewardship in the archdiocese because he already had much experience in it before he was appointed archbishop in 1992.

Daniel Conway, who served as archdiocesan secretary for planning, communications and development from 1993-97, had worked with Archbishop Buechlein in stewardship efforts in the 1970s and ‘80s at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad when the archbishop served as its president-rector.

“Saint Meinrad had the best, most comprehensive seminary development program in the country [at that time],” Conway said, “and what we learned there together influenced all of our subsequent work for the Church.”

Conway currently serves as a senior vice president of Graham-Pelton Consulting, Inc., a worldwide organization that seeks to help non-profits grow through philanthropy. He has also helped guide stewardship efforts of dioceses and other Catholic institutions across the country. Conway currently serves on the editorial board of The Criterion.

“Archbishop Daniel was a strong visionary leader who understood the critical importance of planning and who worked hard to communicate the Church’s mission and invite others to invest their time, talent and money in carrying out Christ’s work,” Conway said. “He never apologized for raising money. He knew that it was an essential part of his responsibility to build up the Church.”

But, Conway added, “it was never about the money. ‘Money follows mission, he would say. ‘Not the reverse.’ ”

The mission of the Church in central and southern Indiana that Archbishop Buechlein fostered through his stewardship efforts included the 1999 construction of Holy Angels School in Indianapolis, the first new center-city Catholic school built in the U.S. in 40 years, the founding of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis in 2004, the 2009 opening of a new 30,000 square-foot Holy Family Shelter in Indianapolis for homeless families, and scores of capital projects in parishes and schools across central and southern Indiana.

Raising the money that Archbishop Buechlein did and overseeing the mission that it supported was where relying on skilled co-workers was critical, said David Milroy, who served as executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development from 2009‑13 after previously working as president of Flatrock Capital Management in Columbus.

“It was great fun to watch him run a meeting,” said Milroy, who is now the chief operating office of the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. “He would pose difficult, challenging questions and then listen patiently to what everyone had to say on the topic. For particularly difficult decisions, he would take all of that back to his prayer time. I remember one particularly difficult decision while I was on staff required a novena to St. Joseph.

“Once he made a decision, he was resolute in moving forward. In my experience, even if you didn’t agree with the conclusion, you felt heard and respected in the process.”

While Archbishop Buechlein listened well to the advice given him by respected business leaders, he also leaned on them to listen to him when he had questions and concerns.

“I was a good listener for him,” said Jerry Semler of Indianapolis, who served as chairman and CEO of OneAmerica, an Indianapolis-based life insurance company, for 50 years. “When you’re the chief executive officer of a big business and have big problems, there’s no one to bounce them off of to speak of. So, I was a good listener.”

Semler, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis, worked closely with Archbishop Buechlein, Bayley and others on many stewardship initiatives in the archdiocese.

Milroy saw how Archbishop Buechlein sacrificially gave of himself in traveling across central and southern Indiana to speak before many parish and deanery gatherings about stewardship as a part of the life of faith.

It was sacrificial for him, said Milroy, because Archbishop Buechlein had a distinctly introverted personality.

“Even after years of doing so, he would still get nervous before each talk,” Milroy said. “However, and importantly, he never missed a talk or failed to give it his best. He would go around to each table and try to greet every single person there.

“As an introvert myself, I know what hard work that can be, and I found it inspiring to see how he embraced something so far outside his natural comfort zone. It was a marvelous witness of what it means to pick up our cross and follow Christ.”

Conway said the principles of stewardship that Archbishop Buechlein fostered in the Church in central and southern Indiana were articulated in a pastoral letter on the topic issued by the bishops in the U.S. in 1992, the year that the archbishop was appointed to lead the archdiocese.

Those principles, Conway noted, are an ongoing legacy in the archdiocese of Archbishop Buechlein’s leadership.

“This continues today,” he said. “Programs and personnel change over time, but the fundamental approach has remained. The spirituality of stewardship is vibrant in central and southern Indiana today, and its powerful message will continue to shape this local Church as long as pastors and lay leaders remain faithful to the bishops’ teaching.” †

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