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 | Keishla Espinal

‘The School of Stewardship is the Mass’

October 11, 2023| The International Catholic Stewardship Council held their 61st Annual Conference in Orlando, October 1-4, 2023. There were over 700 people in attendance, including representatives from 10 local parishes, Bishop Gregory Parkes, staff from the Diocese of St. Petersburg Pastoral Center and staff from Spirit FM. Dr. Lois Locey, Chancellor for Administration & Chief Operating Officer for the Diocese of St. Petersburg received the Conference’s St. Joseph Stewardship award for Distinguished Service.

The theme for this year’s conference was Eucharistic Stewardship, Responding with Grateful Hearts.

“The textbook of stewardship is the Bible; the school of stewardship is the Mass,” said Bishop James Golka of the Diocese of Colorado Springs during his plenary session. “Jesus, who is God, has full access to everything of his Father, and instead of grasping it and using it for Himself, he spent his life emptying Himself, by giving away all that he received from the Father. For me, that is the entryway to stewardship because you are receiving gifts that are not yours, you attend to them, and you care for them. But then you enjoy giving them all away.”

There were over 80 sessions attendees could choose to attend during the four-day event. All those in attendance had the opportunity to listen to speakers, pray, network and delve more deeply into Christian stewardship, including how to implement stewardship in their parish and diocesan communities.

During the event, on October 2, Dr. Lois Locey was recognized for distinguished service in the area of fostering stewardship as a way of life.

“I can only accept this award on behalf of my parents, who were both grateful stewards of the gift of faith they received from God through their parents, who were immigrants to this country, from very Catholic places we call Poland and Slovakia. They came to this country with nothing but the clothes on their back but they came with strong faith,” said Dr. Locey, during her award acceptance at the Conference. “They placed God first in all things, and they made God’s priorities their priorities as well.”

Those who receive the Saint Joseph Stewardship Award are recognized for their dedicated and distinguished service to stewardship and development efforts within diocesan and parish communities.

“I am very proud and blessed to have her as a co-worker in the Diocese of St. Petersburg,” said Bishop Parkes who celebrated Mass for attendees on October 2nd. “We are grateful for all that she does.”

Dr. Locey has been attending the ICSC Conference since 1992. For the last three decades, Dr. Locey has addressed audiences in North America and beyond on stewardship-related topics, including speaking at 31 ICSC conferences. She was also a part of the faculty of the inaugural ICSC's Stewardship Institute in Australia.

She represented ICSC as a presenter at a major stewardship conference in the Caribbean at the request of bishops, pastors, and lay leaders of the 19 English and Dutch-speaking dioceses of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) following Hurricane Maria, the catastrophic storm that devastated these dioceses in 2017.  In addition to serving the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Dr. Locey teaches Church leaders in the Master’s Program at Villanova University’s School of Business’ Center for Church Management. She holds a Doctorate in Ministry from The Catholic University of America, with an emphasis on Pastoral Leadership, Church Growth, Stewardship and Increasing Ministry Effectiveness.

Dr. Locey was a member of the ICSC Board of Directors for five years and served two terms on its executive committee. She was the project manager and editor of an ICSC publication highlighting stewardship best practices collected from around the globe titled: Keeping Stewardship Alive: Proven Stewardship Ideas. She also co-authored ICSC’s Children’s Stewardship Manual. Each of the three parishes she served at were recognized for their total stewardship efforts and two received the ICSC’s Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Memorial Award which recognizes a parish’s outstanding long-term efforts in stewardship. 

"I think Christian stewardship is greatly about putting our faith in ACTION. Putting our love for God and neighbor in ACTION helps make our faith and love for God and neighbor into something more REAL, more holy," said Dr. Locey.

Bishop Gregory Parkes and Dr. Lois Locey, recipient of the St. Joseph Stewardship award for Distinguished Service at the International Catholic Stewardship Conference in Orlando.