Building a lasting legacy: My Catholic Will

By Rebecca Harris
For many Catholics, our faith is not just a belief system; it is a way of life. It permeates every aspect of our being, guiding our actions, decisions, and relationships. Central to our faith is the concept of stewardship – the understanding that all that we have and all that we are is entrusted to us by God to further His Kingdom on Earth. Stewardship encompasses giving our time, talent, and treasure to support our parishes and communities in our mission of spreading God’s love and teachings.

In our diocese, where Catholics make up only 3% of the population, the commitment to building God’s Kingdom is particularly pronounced. Despite being a minority, Catholics in our communities are deeply invested in making a positive impact. Our parish is not just a place of worship; it is a second home filled with people dedicated to doing God’s work. Together, we strive to live out our faith by serving others, fostering community, and supporting the church’s ministries.

While we readily give of our time, talent, and treasure through regular contributions and volunteer efforts, there is one aspect of giving that often goes overlooked: planned giving. Planned giving, simply put, is a way to make a larger contribution to our parish on a long-term basis. Unlike annual gifts, which are given in the present moment, planned gifts are scheduled for the future, typically as part of estate plans.

Planned gifts can take various forms, including bequests in wills, trusts, life insurance policies and other estate planning instruments. These gifts not only provide much-needed financial support to our parishes but also allow donors to establish a lasting legacy that will continue to impact future generations of Catholics. By including your parish in your estate plans, you ensure that the commitment to God’s work extends far beyond your lifetime.

The importance of planned giving cannot be overstated. These gifts not only provide vital financial resources for a parish’s ongoing operations and ministries but also offer a way for donors to leave a lasting impact on the community they cherish. Through planned giving, donors have the opportunity to support initiatives that are close to their hearts, whether it is funding youth programs, supporting outreach efforts, or contributing to the maintenance and upkeep of parish facilities.

Moreover, planned giving allows donors to fulfill their charitable and philanthropic wishes in a meaningful way. By designating a portion of your estate to your parish, donors ensure that our Catholic values and priorities are upheld even after we are no longer present. This sense of continuity and legacy is incredibly powerful, as it allows individuals to shape the future of their parish in accordance with their beliefs and principles.

A will is often the simplest and most straightforward way to establish a planned gift and leave a legacy to your parish. Through the Stewardship and Development Office, the diocese is offering a free will service to parishioners, making it easier than ever to take this important step. The Diocese of Jackson has partnered with My Catholic Will so that individuals can complete their wills in less than 20 minutes, ensuring that their wishes are clearly documented, and their legacy is preserved. This service is completely free to you.

Your legacy matters. By considering a planned gift, you have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on your parish and the wider Catholic community. Whether you are supporting initiatives that are dear to your heart or simply ensuring the continued growth and vitality of your parish, planned giving offers a meaningful way to leave a lasting legacy of faith, generosity and service.

Let us heed the call to action and embark on this journey of building a lasting legacy in Catholic parishes across the diocese. By incorporating your parish into your estate plans, you ensure that your commitment to God’s work extends far beyond your lifetime. Together, let us embrace the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy of faith, generosity, and service for generations to come.

To create your free legal Catholic will in three easy steps please go to or scan the QR code. Rebecca Harris is available to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding planned giving.

“Blessed is the person who plants a tree so others may sit in its shade.”