The International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) was originally founded in 1962 under the auspices of Cardinal Joseph Ritter and under the direction of Father Paul F. Kaletta of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. As head of the archdiocese’s Expansion Fund, Father Kaletta saw the need for a Catholic theology of resource development that would lead to a sharing of information about financial problems facing the Church. Cardinal Ritter invited Catholics from around the country to share ideas about Church support.
The organization, which was originally named the National Council for Diocesan Support Programs, was renamed the National Catholic Stewardship Council, Inc. in 1968. In September 1999, the Board of Directors voted to change the organization’s name to the International Catholic Stewardship Council, Inc. to reflect its international mission. Through the years, ICSC has evolved a theology of stewardship that is presented as a way of life.In 1965, the council began holding annual conferences in cities across the United States. Hundreds of pastors, diocesan directors of development and stewardship, parish leaders, professional firms, Catholic associations and religious congregations from around the world come together each year for four days of presentations, workshops, liturgies and major addresses. Participants experience the Catholic vision of Christian stewardship as a way of life. Timely topics by knowledgeable and experienced speakers fill a comprehensive program. Experts share practical information and experiences that have proven successful. Inspiring liturgies, annual award presentations, “table talk” luncheons, engaging receptions and specialized exhibits supplement the worthwhile and valuable program.The council promotes the concept that stewardship is not simply an appeal for funds; it is a way of life. Through its seminars, publications and annual conference, ICSC emphasizes the principle that all members of our family of faith are called to be Christian stewards and share their God-given gifts in proportion to their God-given blessings.Since 1993, ICSC has offered institutes that provide an in-depth introduction to the basic principles of Christian stewardship and development, and are important ways for stewardship professionals to gather for intensive, week-long experiences of the spiritual and the practical. The institutes have been revised and are offered for parish and diocesan leaders. ICSC has also hosted three international stewardship seminars in Rome, allowing representatives from throughout the world to discuss matters of stewardship in their cultures.As the International Catholic Stewardship Council celebrates to its 50th anniversary, it is fortunate to have a new generation of leaders committed to promoting Christian stewardship as a way of life among the Catholic faithful and advancing the cause of Catholic philanthropy worldwide. Under the Episcopal leadership of Bishop Michael Jackels of the Diocese of Wichita in Kansas, ICSC has established a comprehensive set of strategic initiatives that will guide its ministry throughout North America and beyond.