St. Jude Catholic Parish - South Bend, Indiana

Recently, you may have been present to hear Patricia Falvey speak at all weekend Masses regarding the St. Jude Parish Legacy Society.  We are most fortunate to have someone with Pat’s background and knowledge regarding planned giving, to be helping us with this endeavor.  A Legacy Society is not something new to most parishes across the United States, and not new in our Diocese.  Many Fort Wayne-South Bend parishes have already began such.

Often people wish to see the work of their beloved parish continue to provide for future generations just as it has provided for them and their children.  At the same time, I know from speaking with many older friends and parishioners, people worry that they will not have enough money to see them through their retirement years, especially if they require nursing home care at some point.  It is a reasonable concern, given the rising costs and that some retirement plans have suffered major losses in past years.

At the same time, there is no reason why a person or couple cannot plan to give something at the end of their life through planned giving measures; it would be somewhat unconscionable not to do so.  It is something that can be done in so many ways.  One can leave stocks or bonds, real estate, a percentage of an entire estate, an insurance policy with the parish designated as beneficiary, and more.  We have professional estate planners and attorneys in the parish who are willing to help guide anyone who is interested even if you have already worked with your own estate planner, but would like another to look over his or her recommendations.

One couple, only in their mid-fifties, who have always loved their Faith and their parish home of St. Jude, always generous in their belief in true tithing, said they simply made the parish “one more child” in their estate planning.  In other words, what would have otherwise been divided among their three children is now to be divided equally among their “four children.”

Another thing to remember nowadays is that often one’s adult children have or will have married someone of equal ability and education as themselves, earned greater degrees than possibly their parents, and be quite successful in their own right, and still have most of their life ahead of them to continue to plan for their future.  A windfall from Mom and Dad someday may be much appreciated, but it may be just that, an unexpected windfall.  Often when such comes to those who are already living comfortably (my experience and observation is) they will use it to afford themselves something like a wonderful cruise or new cars, or luxuries that Mom and Dad would have never spent on themselves and in fact sacrificed in order to build up a nice retirement portfolio and estate plan as a legacy.  To ensure that your hard-earned retirement and remaining estate is, at least in part, used for something lasting and beneficial to many, please consider the work of your Church, the work of Our Lord, and especially in a parish where the education of children has always been a huge priority and ministry of the parish family.

Do not put off your decision to do something.  Contact your own estate planner, or feel free to contact Patricia Falvey, or our Business Manager, or me as pastor, and any of us will put you in touch with an expert who can further help you in your planning.  As Patricia indicated in her presentation, those who choose to take action in this matter before the end of January, 2018, will be listed in a tasteful and meaningful way as “founding members of the St. Jude Parish Legacy Society” and will be honored annually with a Legacy member gathering as well as listed among those on a tasteful plaque in our church lobby.  One could be a member and still remain anonymous on such public listings, but still be included in any events that honor them for their leaving their parish as part of their personal legacy and life’s work.  My friends, more than this being an asking for a monetary gift, this is our asking for you to make a deep faith-statement as a Catholic who wishes to see their beloved parish Church continue to serve the work of Our Lord well into the future.  St. Jude Parish may proudly say they have done so for many years now and always, only, through the generosity and faith commitment of her members.  Let us continue to do so.

- Fr. John