August 27, 2021

Investing with Faith / Jim Maslar

Gift in will ‘tells’ a story, creates legacy at Greencastle parish

Jim MaslarGwendoline “Gwen” Long’s life story reads like a novel.

She was born in London, England, in the 1920s; survived the London blitz bombings of World War II; met and fell in love with a U.S. Army Air Corps officer during his service in the European Theater; married this newfound “love of her life,” George, in 1944 and moved to his hometown of Greencastle; spent the rest of her life in this Putnam County city where they operated a small business for more than 30 years; became an integral member of her parish and local community; and left lasting impressions on all those she met.

Through some very thoughtful and generous planning years ago, however, Gwen’s story will now live on in a special way.

A longtime member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, Gwen passed away in July of 2020 at 97 and was laid to rest next to her beloved husband.

“Those who knew Gwen will remember and miss her because of her British accent, her hearty laugh and sense of humor, her World War II stories, and her independent spirit,” her obituary read. “Gwen lived a full life” and was known for her hospitality to all and her passion for serving the poor, particularly through her parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Earlier this year, the parish learned that it had been named in Gwen’s last will and testament to receive a very generous bequest gift from her estate.

A charitable bequest is simply a gift provision included in a will or trust to benefit a charity, such as a Catholic parish, school or agency. It is most often included as a percentage of the estate’s value, but can also be a specific dollar amount, a specific piece of property, or even a full or partial residuary amount at the end of the estate’s processing. Gwen utilized this giving strategy, and it has truly made a lasting impact.

“It could not have come at a better time for St. Paul’s. … We were very surprised and grateful,” Father John Hollowell, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, recalled in a recent conversation. The parish, which also serves the Catholic students at DePauw University in Greencastle, was in the midst of a capital expansion and renovation project. “We were right at the point where we were going to have to start making some tough decisions about what to cut from the project,” Father Hollowell shared.

Through Gwen’s bequest gift “we were able to complete the project and also set up two different endowments, the first being a general parish endowment and the second being the ‘Gwendoline Long Poverty Outreach Endowment,’ which will be used to support our

St. Vincent de Paul Society and various other poverty outreach efforts of St. Paul’s,” Father Hollowell said.

“We try to remind our parishioners on a regular basis that they can, in their estate planning, make a gift for almost anything they are passionate about,” the priest continued, “and that making the parish a part of their planned giving will make a considerable difference in the lives of the parishioners of the next generations.”

For Gwendoline, her love of her faith and parish community, her deep care for those in need, and her signature hospitality will continue on in a special way through the updated parish building, its outreach program serving the poor, and the ongoing operational support of St. Paul year after year through the parish endowment. What a great and fitting ending to the novel of Gwen’s life!

(Jim Maslar is a Catholic philanthropic advisor for the archdiocese’s Catholic Community Foundation [CCF]. Tax or legal information provided herein is not intended as tax or legal advice. Always consult with your legal, tax or financial advisors before implementing any gift plan. If you would like to learn more about including your parish in your estate plans, please contact us any time. We exist to exclusively serve you and your parish in planned giving. For more information on the CCF, visit e-mail, or call 317-236-1482.)

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