Honorees not one bit proud — but very grateful

by Joe Bollig
joe.bollig@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Bernie and Jackie Madden will receive their Deo Gratias Award on Nov. 7.

They are not proud of it.

“The word ‘pride’ is a word that the Benedictine nuns told me I could never use in my lifetime,” said Bernie.

So the Maddens will receive their award with thanks, gratitude and humility. They admit to being an active Catholic family — but not the only ones, so they aren’t quite sure why they deserve it.

“There are a lot of people who are probably more deserving,” said Bernie.

Every year the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas presents the Deo Gratias award to one couple and one Catholic organization at the Deo Gratias dinner.

The 2013 dinner will take place on Nov. 7 at Savior Pastoral Center, 12601 Parallel Pkwy., Kansas City, Kan.

The evening will begin with an investment portfolio report at 4:30 p.m. in the St. Luke Room, a reception at 6 p.m., and the invocation and award presentation at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner will follow at 7 p.m., with a keynote address by Father Pete O’Sullivan, pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park.

The Deo Gratias (Latin for “thanks be to God”) Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement, service and support of Catholic institutions that are CFNEK fund-holders, as well as Catholic Legacy Society members, such as the Maddens.

Indeed, the Maddens do deserve the award. They’ve been very active in their parish and Catholics schools since they moved to the Kansas City area and became members of St. Ann Parish in Prairie Village in 1963.

All six of their children went to Catholic schools, from grade school through high school. The Maddens’ service includes the school board, CYO, parish finance committee, food kitchen, hospital ministry, eucharistic adoration, booster club, drama club and other activities. Bernie serves on the Bishop Miege Foundation.

The Maddens are one of the 341 individuals and families who are members of the Catholic Legacy Society.

“The [CFNEK board] wanted to honor an organization and individual or family that demonstrates to others the importance of leaving a legacy of their faith,” said Lesle Knop, executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development and of CFNEK.

“We’re not looking necessarily for people who will leave incredible amounts in an estate,” she said. “We’re talking about people who passed on the faith, so generations from now that faith will continue in the lives of their progeny.”

CFNEK, originally established as the Archdiocesan Foundation, was created for people who want to help the church now and far into the future.

This year, CFNEK is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an art exhibit, Marian pilgrimage, and establishment of the Mary, Star of the New Evangelization Endowment.

“The foundation serves as a trust for the funds that have been established by our Catholic schools, parishes and other organizations serving the archdiocese,” said Knop. “Those funds are pooled and invested in the archdiocesan deposit and loan fund and a managed portfolio of equity investments.”

These funds earn interest from the investments, and the interest is used to fund all sorts of things that aren’t part of operating budgets. For example, the weekly Sunday offerings people give are used for parish operating expenses, but interest from foundation investments could be used to replace a worn-out boiler, repair an old roof, or build a new building.

CFNEK has grown the assets from $2 million when it was founded in 1989, to $16 million in 2003, and then to $45 million in 2013. In 25 years, the endowment has grown from five to 188 donor-advised funds and gift annuities.

“But the real measure of what we do is the earned income of the assets distributed back into the parish communities,” said Knop. “Last year, we were able to distribute back to our organizations more money than we’ve ever distributed before — $1,624,694.”

Also during the dinner, three parishes will be recognized with Gold Status as part of the Planned Giving Initiative. The status ranking is in recognition for having put into place practices that build a culture of planned giving in the parish. The Gold Status winners are St. Ann Parish in Prairie Village, Holy Family Parish in Eudora, and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.

All parish leaders who are committed to good stewardship of parish finances are welcome to attend the event at no charge, but they must register online.

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