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.
The US Bishops Pastoral Letter on Stewardship tells us that a steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly and in justice, and returns them with increase to the Lord. These 4 attributes of a steward match up with 4 areas of focus for both individual Catholics and the parish: we receive God’s gifts gratefully through prayer and worship focused on thanksgiving; we cultivate them responsibly through formation and education focused on learning more about stewardship and how to be better stewards; we share our gifts lovingly and in justice when we share them with others especially the less fortunate; and we can return them with increase to the Lord by giving adequately to the Lord’s instrument here on earth, our Church. We will detail ideas for how parishes can lead efforts to do this in the following tabs.