The Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Award is presented to a parish for its outstanding work in Christian stewardship formation in honor of the late Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy. Archbishop Murphy was an ardent supporter of ICSC and a passionate promoter of Christian stewardship. He died in June 1997, and this award is a fitting tribute to his memory.The 2014 Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Award is presented to:Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic Parish Altamonte Springs, FloridaSaint Mary Magdalen Catholic Parish is a middle-class parish located in the suburban city of Altamonte Springs, Florida. It is composed primarily of Anglo and Hispanic parishioners. It was canonically designated a parish in 1959 and served 95 parishioners.Located well outside the prime tourist areas of Central Florida, the parish was a stable and aging community when ten years ago, the pastoral council and finance council began to discern that the parish could be led to a greater sense of discipleship by embracing a stewardship way of life.Beginning with prayer, in 2004 the parish leadership inaugurated an on-going stewardship effort, challenging the parish to growth and greater commitment to service in the name of Christ. This effort was met with whole-hearted support by the parish members.During this ten year period of renewal, parish ministries and services grew from 90 to over 200 as parishioners became increasingly involved in the life of the parish. Sunday evening Scripture classes have reached new levels of popularity. Involvement in family and marriage ministry has increased. The parish has made a concerted effort to reach out to those who have left, particularly in the 27-40 young adult age group. Youth ministers report that junior high and high school programs are not only filled, but students are bringing friends, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to join the activities.
Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, with an $8.5 million annual operating budget, operates an Infant through Pre-K early learning center, as well as a K-8 school and an adult day care center. These ministries, as well as ministries serving the poor, are possible because 91.5% of those who give by name make a planned, proportionate, sacrificial commitment to parish funding.Parishioners at Saint Mary Magdalen Parish are committed to the words of Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy: “The commitment to stewardship is a commitment to mission.” By taking these words to heart, the parish has become a vibrant and growing community of disciples.
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