DRAPER — Each year, people in every parish and mission in the Diocese of Salt Lake City volunteer to work on the Diocesan Development Drive, which is the bishop’s annual appeal for funds for the programs administered by the Pastoral Center. On Oct. 26, these volunteers were recognized at an appreciation dinner held at Juan Diego Catholic High School.
The gathering celebrated the diligent efforts of the volunteers who, “on behalf of the bishop’s annual appeal, help to fund over 30 diocesan ministries, programs and services that extend beyond the capacity of any single parish,” said Karin Hurley, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Stewardship & Development. “The Diocesan Development Drive is essential to the vibrancy and the life of the Church in Utah.”
She gave several examples of how contributions to the DDD are used, such as the work of Jean Hill, the diocese’s government liaison who is also director of the diocesan Peace and Justice Commission.
“With Jean’s leadership and the dedication of the people who serve alongside her on the Peace and Justice Commission,” Catholic advocacy at the local, state and national levels of government “is alive and well in our diocese and in our state,” Hurley said.
In addition, the DDD contributes to the diocesan offices of religious education and liturgy, which “have a shared vision of evangelization and catechesis – priorities of our diocesan Pastoral Plan,” Hurley said. The offices provide opportunities for prayer, ongoing faith formation and theological study, by training catechists, music ministers, Communion ministers, lectors and Catholic educators, as well as providing resources for clergy and laity, she said.
The keynote speaker at the dinner was Jason Caywood, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish who has served on the diocesan Stewardship Council since 2015, on his parish council for about five years, and will be parish representative next year.
The foundation of stewardship is gratitude, Caywood said, adding that of the three components of stewardship – time, talent and treasure – he particularly is struck by talent.
“We are all made specifically the way God wanted us to be, and that includes the talents he placed inside of us,” he said. “Everybody in here has certain talents that we are able to utilize, and what I’ve found is that when we work in those talents more frequently, that’s when I feel we’re more connected to God, that’s when I feel we’re happier, we’re more fulfilled, where we are more effective in whatever we are trying to do. … Don’t hide your talents … whatever they may be. Use those talents to go out and serve.”
Bishop Oscar A. Solis gave the concluding remarks for the evening. He thanked those involved in the Diocesan Development Drive, saying their work cannot be overstated.
“You have been strong collaborators in our ministry and that is why our Church continues to exist and carry out the mission of Christ in Utah,” the bishop said.
Christianity is rooted in giving, he said. “When you give something that you have, it means sharing – sharing the gift that has been given to us generously and graciously by our Lord. It is not a responsibility, it is a way of life, to give and to share what God has given us. And that is why stewardship must be seen in the light of giving and sharing.”
He urged those present to keep their Catholic identity as followers of Christ in the midst of these challenging times. “In the midst of sinfulness and ugliness, we can show the world that we are still people of hope, people who believe in the power of God’s grace, and people who believe that in death there is life, in darkness there is hope. In the midst of sin, love prevails,” he said. “You are called, you are chosen and you accept to proclaim the Good News.”