In the Spirit of Thanksgiving: Inaugural Society of Saint Joseph Legacy Mass

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving: Inaugural Society of Saint Joseph Legacy Mass

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By Carolina Scipioni
Endowment & Planned Giving Program Manager, Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County


More than 1,500 years ago, Saint Ambrose wrote, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” This is still true today, especially during this time of Thanksgiving. While our gratitude can never equal the greatness of the gifts we receive, we are called to return thanks in any way we can.

It was in this spirit of thanksgiving that on October 14, we gathered at Saint Christopher Parish as a community of faithful to recognize the Founding Members of the Society of Saint Joseph at the Diocese’s first Legacy Mass.

Named after our patron saint, this honorary society is comprised of Catholic men and women who have made a commitment to name a local parish, Catholic elementary school, the Diocese of San Jose or any ministry of the Diocese as a beneficiary of a gift (of any size) in their estate plans.

Bishop Patrick J. McGrath and Bishop Oscar Cantú celebrated a beautiful liturgy that exuded the spirit of thanksgiving. Together, we prayed in thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received, in thanksgiving for these legacy gifts which will allow us to continue to build our Catholic Church and most of all, and in thanksgiving for the presence of God in our lives. It is through Him that all these things are possible.

Following Mass, the bishops, pastors and parishioners from different corners of our Diocese joined together at a reception and had the chance to meet each other, tell their stories and share our Catholic faith. Wendy Brennan, Development Director at Saint Patrick Elementary School, had the chance to meet a former teacher who has planned for a legacy gift for the school. Wendy shared, “Saint Patrick School is elated that an alumna teacher has chosen to remember us in her estate plan. Gifts like this help guarantee that we can continue our mission to provide a Catholic education to those for whom it would otherwise be out of reach.”

Joe Naylor, Chief Development Officer of the Diocese was also delighted to witness supporters and beneficiaries come together for this event. He shared, “In most cases, pastors don’t fi nd out that their parish is the recipient of an estate gift until they receive the paperwork from an attorney after the parishioner has died. The Society of Saint Joseph allows the pastor and parish community the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the parishioner’s gift while they are still with us.”

Pastors were grateful for this opportunity. “I know that a legacy gift is fueled by both love and hope for the future and, as such, it means more than financial support,” said Father Saju Joseph, pastor of Saint Martin of Tours Parish. He was excited to see some of his parishioners who are Founding Society Members at the mass and reception in October. “All year long I thank God for the love and hope these parishioners give, and I also cherish this once-a-year opportunity to sit with them and express my heart-felt gratitude.”

The Society of Saint Joseph is man-aged by The Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County in partnership with the Diocese of San Jose. Mary Quilici Aumack, Executive Director of the Foundation, is delighted to see long time parishioners join the society every week.

Since May of this year, the Society has welcomed 78 members who have made provisions for 29 different parishes, Catholic elementary schools and ministries of the Diocese of San Jose. “All these gifts whether large or small,” Aumack said, “will provide FOREVER VALUE for these faith communities and for this, we are grateful.”

The next Legacy Mass & Reception will be held in the fall of 2019 and we look forward to welcoming more members. Visit our Society of Saint Joseph page to learn more about becoming a Founding Member cfoscc.org/societyofsaintjoseph or call Carolina Scipioni at (408) 995-5219.