By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published October 2, 2008
Steve Siler, the director of development at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta for the past nine years, has been named as the new executive director of the Stewardship Office of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
A graduate of Notre Dame University in business and accounting, he will also bring to the office a familiarity with the archdiocese and its people and parishes.
While in the St. Pius development position, Siler led the high school’s successful $6 million capital campaign in 2003-2005 and was responsible for a 50 percent growth in the school’s annual fund in the last six years.
Also providing oversight for strategic planning processes at St. Pius, Siler sharpened his leadership and fundraising skills while managing a four-member team that handled a variety of responsibilities, from alumni relations to special events.
He previously taught and coached at St. Pius for six years, developing faith-based courses for students and leading the cross-country team to a state championship in 1996, before becoming the school’s director of development.
“I was able to get to know a multitude of people from different parishes,” he said, a network of friendships he believes will help him be more effective in directing archdiocesan stewardship.
The Stewardship Office oversees the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, fosters parish development of the time, talent and treasure of parish members, and helps parishes with their own capital campaigns and fundraising efforts.
For Siler, who is a parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Atlanta, stewardship is more than just a job. He sees the responsibility of being a good steward as embracing all areas, including his personal life and family life.
“For me … a good steward means being in a state of constant conversion and … modeling my life in the image of Christ,” he said.
It is a view that he shares with the mission statement of the Stewardship Office expressed on its Web site: “Stewardship is not the goal of our journey. Evangelization is the goal. Stewardship is how we get there.”
“What the Stewardship Office is geared toward is making people better disciples of Christ,” said Siler.
Having a family also leads to stewardship, he said.
“Kids have been an excellent lesson in stewardship,” he said. “Kids are the surest thing to make one unselfish.”
Siler, 42, and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Katie, 4, and Caroline, 2, and one son, Samuel, who is 9 months old.
Running has also been an important part of Siler’s life. Having completed eight marathons and coached the cross-country team at St. Pius, he finds the activity to be healthy both physically and spiritually.
Siler’s professional career began in Atlanta after earning his bachelor’s of business administration in accountancy from Notre Dame in 1998. He served as a senior staff auditor for Arthur Anderson & Co. for two years and earned his certified public accountant license in 1990.
While some people have their careers seemingly mapped out from day one, Siler takes a different approach. For him, a career is something that unfolds and being in “a state of readiness” is what led him to serve God’s people in this new capacity.
“God has prepared me in a unique way for this position,” he said.
Before joining the faculty at St. Pius, he had considered the archdiocesan priesthood, spending three years in the seminary where he received a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. He also worked in pastoral ministry in a variety of settings.
According to Siler, his new role marries all of his experiences, from studying theology to currently pursuing a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from Notre Dame, to his experiences in the working world, most notably at St. Pius X.
As with many offices in the archdiocese, the Stewardship Office is in the process of reorganizing in order to provide the most spiritually fulfilling ministry, while remaining optimally efficient. Its mission is to focus on the relationship between God and his people, its Web site says.
“Stewardship is first and foremost about ‘relationship,’ our relationship with God and His with us. He has given us many blessings, which He expects us to develop and cherish and share. He expects us to share these blessings with others, according to our means, as an expression of our gratefulness to God for His goodness to us.”
A principal focus of the Stewardship Office is promoting “good stewardship of parishioners’ gifts of time, talent and treasure,” according to its Web site.
The Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, led by the Stewardship Office, is the annual campaign in all parishes and missions to raise funds for archdiocesan ministries and programs that serve the entire church of North Georgia and that reach out into the wider community.
Providing support to parishes in the archdiocese is also very important to the office, said Siler. His hope is that the office will continue helping with parish capital campaigns and fundraisers and ultimately draw more parishioners to be active in the process.
Joining Siler in the Stewardship Office are Georgia Babic, assistant to the executive director, Christine Heusinger, stewardship coordinator, Bill Wider, grant writer, and Tracy Zelczak, administration assistant.
Siler said he will take his cue from Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and act in a role of servant leadership.
“Our object is to serve,” said Siler. “We need to be good stewards ourselves.”