The repainting of St. Francis Xavier, Superior, was partially funded through a grant from the Catholic Extension. When parishes need money for infrastructure projects, ministry or personnel, they call on the Office of Stewardship and Development for grant-writing assistance. The annual financial appeal funds this and other services.
Painting the starry blue ceiling and gold-stenciled vaulting in the apse of St. Francis Xavier, Superior, was no job for amateurs.
Despite fundraising efforts, the historic parish – founded in 1854 by the Venerable Frederic Baraga – needed a financial boost to pay for the project.
Enter the Diocese of Superior’s Office of Stewardship and Development.
“One of the many things I do is to write grants,” said Steve Tarnowski, director of the department.
When parishes need cash for infrastructure projects, “I kind of beat the bushes and find the best sources,” he explained. “In my time here, I’ve touched every parish in the diocese with at least one grant.”
Not every grant is for building improvements. In the past few years, several clusters have hired development directors or filled other positions with grant money, Tarnowski said.
Stewardship and development is one of many diocesan offices that serves parishes directly by providing assistance and materials on request. The service is funded through the annual financial appeal.
This year’s diocesan fundraising effort, renamed the Catholic Services Appeal, begins in August and September.
The rebranding signals a transition from last year’s endowment-building back to funding annual budget needs, Tarnowski explained.
Last year, the annual appeal was rolled into the broader Faith in Our Future Campaign; this year, a smaller campaign will generate money for youth ministry, religious education and other programs used by all parishes, as well as for the superintendent’s office, which ensures accreditation and oversight of Catholic schools.
Since 1988, the annual campaign had been called the Diocesan Services Appeal. Tarnowski prefers the new title, which he feels is more accurate.
“We’re serving all the parishes, and all Catholics,” he said.