June 7, 2019

Donors note ‘it’s all God’s’ at Circle of Giving event

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson meets 9-month-old Miriam Babb and her parents, Rory and Diana Babb, at the third annual Circle of Giving dinner held on May 9 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. The Babbs, who are members of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, were among those recognized for their generous contributions to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and its ministries. (Photo by Victoria Arthur)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson meets 9-month-old Miriam Babb and her parents, Rory and Diana Babb, at the third annual Circle of Giving dinner held on May 9 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. The Babbs, who are members of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, were among those recognized for their generous contributions to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and its ministries. (Photo by Victoria Arthur)

By Victoria Arthur (Special to The Criterion)

Just weeks after being received into the full communion of the Church at this year’s Easter Vigil, Diana Babb found herself among those recognized as the most generous donors of the Church in central and southern Indiana at the third annual archdiocesan Circle of Giving Mass and Dinner.

She and her husband Rory also had the distinction of bringing the youngest guest to the Indianapolis event—their 9-month-old daughter, Miriam.

The Babbs say they view everything as a gift from God, with Miriam being the latest and most priceless example. And in the young couple’s commitment to give back from their abundant blessings, they captured the spirit that the May 9 gathering, held at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral and the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center, was designed to celebrate.

“We tithe because it’s all God’s,” said Diana Babb, who like her husband is a scientist at Eli Lilly and Company. “We give to our parish and various specific Catholic and other Christian ministries that we’re most passionate about, but also to the United Catholic Appeal to allow the archdiocese to fund the ministries whose needs they know and we likely will never know.”

During her five-year journey to the Church, Babb came to embrace the rich traditions and beautiful teachings of the faith, especially its call to serve others. The Church’s ability to provide for people’s needs is the direct result of the “culture of giving” embodied in last month’s Indianapolis gathering, according to one of the evening’s key speakers.

“Your support means that ministries can thrive, that needs can be met, and that we can grow our Church for future generations,” said Jolinda Moore, executive director of the archdiocesan secretariat for stewardship and development.

Moore addressed more than 250 people from across the archdiocese during the Circle of Giving reception and dinner, one of two held in central and southern Indiana in May. The participants represented two groups of donors: members of the Miter Society and of the Legacy Society.

Miter Society members contribute $1,500 or more to the United Catholic Appeal, which meets the present needs of the Church in central and southern Indiana. Legacy Society members focus on the future with planned gifts contributed through the archdiocesan Catholic Community Foundation—providing for the Church in their wills, for example, or by starting an endowment.

Moore said that in this fiscal year, the United Catholic Appeal has resulted in pledges of nearly $5.5 million thus far, with 100 percent of those gifts directly supporting ministries, services and programs in the archdiocese. Meanwhile, the Catholic Community Foundation has recently added 19 new endowments, increasing the foundation’s assets to more than $184 million.

“From that, our parishes, schools, cemeteries and ministry agencies benefited from more than $7.4 million in distributions during the year,” Moore said. “These gifts create a tremendous impact in our archdiocese.”

The evening began with Mass at the cathedral, with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson as the principal celebrant.

After mingling with guests during the reception, Archbishop Thompson publicly thanked everyone assembled for “the witness you are providing through your stewardship.”

“It takes a lot of resources to operate Catholic Charities, to provide a Catholic education to our children and to educate our seminarians,” the archbishop said. “We couldn’t do it without the annual gifts that you make through the United Catholic Appeal and the long-term gifts you make to the Catholic Community Foundation through planned giving.”

Archbishop Thompson’s references to education especially resonated with Brian and Laurie Fitzgerald, members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis. They have sent their six children to Catholic elementary and high schools—and, so far, universities as well.

“Our children’s Catholic education has been of utmost importance to us, especially in today’s world,” said Laurie Fitzgerald, a registered nurse. “I remember writing their [senior] retreat letters and telling them that with all of life’s challenges, the only thing that will remain constant is God’s love for them, and that their faith in him will lead them through anything they may encounter.”

Both Laurie and Brian are from families of seven children, and their Catholic values run deep.

“We were both taught from a very young age that even if things are tight, it is imperative to give back, whether it be monetarily or by volunteering time,” said Brian, a mechanical engineering manager. “It is very important for us to support the Catholic Church because we have been blessed in so many ways over the course of our lives.”
 

(Victoria Arthur is a freelance writer and member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg. For more information about supporting the United Catholic Appeal or the Catholic Community Foundation, contact Jolinda Moore at 317-236-1462, 800-382-9836, ext. 1462, or e-mail jmoore@archindy.org. Online resources for the United Catholic Appeal can be found at www.archindy.org/uca; Catholic Community Foundation resources are available at www.archindy.org/ccf.) †

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