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“People Are So Generous—I Am Always Amazed.”

Retired parish priest Fr. John Klein looks back—and forward—at all the things the Diocesan Services Appeal is able to accomplish, thanks to the robust financial support of area Catholics.

“There are many surprises here, both in terms of the generosity of the people who give, and in terms of the breadth and depth of the services provided,” he says. “Most people sitting in the pews have no idea about the support the DSA provides to parishes, to families, and to the community as a whole.”

Fr. John, who still remembers his own father going out to raise funds for the DSA’s predecessor campaign, the Diocesan Development Fund, in the 1950s (“He used to go out door to door to raise money—never one of his favorite tasks”), says the DSA is an essential community good.

“The DSA is used to help form ministers of all kinds, from seminarians to lay ministers and deacons, teachers, and religious education leaders,” Fr. John says. “It’s not just about recruitment, it’s about ensuring ongoing professional development and support, so our Catholic leaders and staff can minister to people most effectively.”

Fr. John says the DSA also funds specific ministries that help leverage parish priests in their work.

“Counseling services are supported by DSA funds, and as a priest I always appreciated having a place to help me serve parishioners who were experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges,” Fr. John says. “In addition, the DSA supports our diocesan marriage tribunal, office of worship, and other sources of guidance, advice and practical help.”

With many churches across the globe reporting reduced attendance, one might assume the body of givers might also be in decline. But nothing could be further from the truth.

“Even those who don’t come regularly to Mass continue to give, and give generously,” Fr. John says.

Fr. John served at St. Agnes in Flint for 14 years before coming to St. Gerard in Lansing.

“In Flint, my parish served around 450 families in a very difficult area,” he says. “But even there, the amount contributed to both the parish and the DSA would go up. Those families have been extraordinarily generous, and so have the families at St. Gerard. They are unfailing.”

Fr. John credits a high level of trust and thoughtful leadership with the ongoing generosity of parishioners across the diocese.

“It’s absolutely vital for families to prayerfully consider and purposefully commit to their annual gifts,” he says. “At St. Gerard, we always asked for a commitment at the end of each year, and the contributions almost always went up. Our parishioners have always seemed to appreciate the long tradition of our church. They value the school, and they believe our pastoral staff is top-notch. People step up when they trust the organization, and the communities I’ve been privileged to serve–as well as the DSA as a whole—are completely above reproach.”

Fr. John continues to support the church and diocese even as he enjoys his retirement years.

“I am still very involved in ministering to people across the diocese,” he says. “But I don’t miss the administrative side of the priesthood.

“I am grateful there are good people who can take up the work and do it well, thanks in large part to the support they receive from the DSA.”