A giving society is established by organizations to give thanks to those who make it possible for them to fulfill their mission. While this is usually done through in-person events, the Diocese of St. Petersburg courageously jumped into the unknown last November to launch their Mater Dei Giving Society virtually.
“For the last couple of years, I have been trying to move toward launching a diocesan giving society to acknowledge the most generous among us and show appreciation in a more deliberate and personal way,” said Bishop Gregory Parkes. “While Covid may have derailed my plans for an in-person event to do this, it could not stop my need to express my gratitude.”
On November 9, 2020, Bishop Parkes “unveiled” the Mater Dei Giving Society after an evening prayer service through a virtual, live stream event. After the announcement, Bishop Parkes opened the floor to his guests through chat. Although an in-person event wasn’t possible, the conversation took off with the help of emcee Gus Lloyd, host of the Seize the Day morning show on The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM 129.
“We have been holding mass and prayer vigils via live stream since the pandemic began, but this was different,” said Meegan Wright, Executive Director of the Office of Stewardship and Development and the Catholic Foundation. “This was our first time trying out new technology so that Bishop and his guests could have an interactive, virtual conversation. There was no established format, which was a little scary. But it was wonderful and spontaneous, and it felt like time really flew. Before we knew it, Bishop Parkes and Gus had answered 30 questions!”
The Mater Dei Giving Society is named in honor of the Blessed Mother. The more than 5,500 members have demonstrated generosity to the Diocese of St. Petersburg Annual Pastoral Appeal (APA), Spirit FM 90.5, Catholic Charities and/or the Catholic Foundation in three special ways including legacy giving, 10 years or more of continuous support, and/or those who have come forward with special gifts.
Bishop Parkes and his production team invite everyone to learn more about the Mater Dei Giving Society and to view the “Behind the Scenes” video of the event.