I got some very sad news recently. I have served OLG for the past 10 years as your Director of Stewardship and Development. Fr. Todd told me a few days ago that he has decided to eliminate my position when the new fiscal year begins on July 1. OLG needs to reduce expenses, and he thought the Stewardship position made the most sense to cut.
I will really miss serving you as a member of the parish staff.
My family and I have been members of OLG ever since we moved to the area 26 years ago. I’ve gotten to know hundreds of parishioners, and count many of you as personal friends. But, since I joined the parish staff in 2010, I’ve gotten to know thousands of you in a variety of ways. I’ve worked with parish leaders over these years that have been key players in the development of OLG. I’ve worked closely with the Stewardship Commission as we try to encourage parishioners to be the best stewards of God’s gifts. I’ve met monthly with the Parish Council and have come to appreciate the big picture in the life of OLG.
I have collaborated with the School Commission to try to make our school the best possible. I’ve developed the scholarship program at OLG to make our school affordable to as many families as possible. We’ve raised over $350,000 from generous OLG parishioners in the Quality Education Scholarship program that you’ve heard me talk about often over the years. This wonderful program has changed the lives of hundreds our students by making a Catholic school education possible! Thank you!
I have enjoyed trying new things at the parish, like making the Stewardship Videos that we traditionally show at Mass during Lent. Every person I have interviewed shared a part of their faith story with me, and I’m so grateful for that. Hopefully, the videos have encouraged our parishioners to grow in faith, too. I am also grateful for the many people who have shared their Stewardship Time, Talent, and Treasure witness talks at Mass. I have been humbled by your faith stories, and inspired to grow more in my own faith.
I have enjoyed meeting hundreds of new parishioners over the years in the New Parishioner Welcome meetings that Msgr. Mark, Sr. Ushatta, and I conducted when a family joined the parish. Many of you have commented that you appreciated the individual welcome, and had never experienced that at any other parish.
Our Capital Campaigns are another area of parish generosity I will never forget. In my time on staff you have funded the building of the new rectory. Then, from 2016-18 OLG exceeded the goal on the two capital campaigns to build the new parking lot, install the wonderful A/V system in Madonna Hall, new carpeting in the narthex and in school classrooms, and build the new fence and security gate at the school.
I have enjoyed getting OLG involved in social media, too. I appreciate the dedication of our digital media team over the years. Little did I know when I started our first Facebook page back in 2011, that one day we’d use Facebook as the only means to bring Mass to our parishioners. During the Coronavirus pandemic, our social media presence has exploded. At one point, we were live-streaming 4 or 5 events daily on Facebook. We’ve been working with our “Tech Team” to get the necessary technology to live-stream from the main church. Just last week I submitted a $5,000 technology grant proposal for the parish. If approved, we will be able to purchase an HD quality live-streaming system for the main church, a portable A/V cart with flat screen TV and Blu-ray player for use by many parish ministry groups, and some laptops for other A/V presentations around the parish.
Finally, I will miss being a part of the parish staff. What a wonderful group of multi-talented, faith-filled co-workers. It has been my privilege to help fulfill the mission of OLG parish with such a dedicated and hard-working team. I learned to love so many more aspects our outstanding parish by working side-by-side each day with our staff.
My last day at OLG is June 30th. I hope to be able to connect with many of you as we gradually re-open the church. Please pray for me as I discern the next chapter of my life. And know that I will keep you all in my prayers and in my heart.
Tony Cooper-Stewardship and Development