Legacy Society – ‘An Avenue of Showing Your Love for the Faith’

One of the ways to help sustain the Diocese and everything it encompasses, including local parishes and local Catholic schools, for years to come, is through the Diocese’s Legacy Society. The society consists of anyone who has made a planned gift to the society’s endowment through “Gift of Securities, Bequests, Life Insurance, Charitable Trust, Charitable Gift Annuity, or Gift of Retirement Plan Assets.”

“Giving money to your parish, school, or other diocesan entity is making a statement of how you have valued your faith throughout your life. It is giving forward to the faith. It is part of helping keep parishes and schools strong. It is an outward sign, a commitment of what you value,” said the Diocese’s Major and Planned Gift Officer, Ginny Downey.

Members of the society receive a birthday card from the Bishop. Plus, they’re invited to a special Mass and brunch each year. The society has been in place for over a decade, but Downey said over the past four years, the Diocese has been encouraging parishes to establish their own local chapter.

“It should start in the parishes, and our job here at the Diocese is to recognize their good work,” she said.

The Diocese encourages parishes to establish their own branch because parishioners have a unique and personal connection with their local parishes, said Downey.

“When the church you’ve been going to your whole life – where you’ve had your Sacraments, where you’ve raised your children, where you go every Sunday – when the pastor says, ‘A planned gift really helps us to secure and strengthen the future of the parish,’ that pulls at people’s hearts much more than when the message comes from the Diocese.”

To help facilitate the initiative, the Diocese has put together a three-year plan that’s laid out in an informational package and brochure that’s available for anyone who would like to roll out the program at their own parish. The first step is to establish a committee.

Holy Guardian Angels (HGA) in Reading is one of the first parishes to establish its own local branch, adequately called “The Guardian Society.”

“It's guarding our faith, our parishioners, our future, our campus,” said chairperson Rebecca Horyczko. She, along with another volunteer, Rick Stoudt, plan on showcasing the society at the parish’s upcoming stewardship fair in the fall.

“I just want to give back so that when I’m gone, others will still be able to come to our parish, and that community spirit will [still] be there,” she said.

Horyczko said through a recent poll, her parish has discovered at least 30 people who have named HGA in their estate plans. She hopes to grow the number by creating awareness of the society and its need. As her group gears up for phase 2 of the plan, she urges other parishes to take on the endeavor.

Horyczko challenges other parishes to “decide how you're going to exist in the future, and if you’re going to exist in the future. If you are, how are you going to exist financially? It can’t just come from the weekly operational collection. There has to be some kind of fund that will handle the growth.”

“It is an avenue of showing your love for the faith,” said Downey, who highlighted that planned gifts of any size are welcomed. She encourages anyone interested in learning more on how to start a legacy branch at his/her parish to contact her at gdowney@allentowndiocese.org.

Photo: Rebecca Horyczko, chairperson for HGA Guardian Society.


Mass Livestream