By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross
Joseph Lichty, who began work as director of stewardship for the Diocese of Duluth in October, brings more than a professional background to his new role. He brings his faith.
“I bring the kind of professional background, but also, I’m a missionary at heart,” he said in an interview. “I get discipleship, I get formation, I get evangelization.”
A Woodbury native and married father of seven, Lichty steps into a position that has been vacant for about a year. His professional background includes doing development work at two dynamic parishes in the Twin Cities as well as for other Catholic nonprofits and ministries, including NET Ministries and the St. Paul Seminary.
He was raised Catholic, but he said a deep encounter with Christ as a young man was a turning point for him. He studied philosophy, theology, and psychology as an undergraduate at the University of St. Thomas, and he spent time doing evangelization on college campuses with St. Paul’s Outreach, feeling the need to share his own experience of Jesus with others.
He sees the professional and faith elements as representing a good balance for the position with the Duluth Diocese.
“Really, I see my job as cultivating God’s gifts in the diocese for the bishop’s apostolic mission,” he said.
Lichty said the stewardship focus is one of the things that attracted him to seek the position in Duluth. He said in the church people often leave the question of finances aside while living the Catholic life, but in fact, it’s part of everyday life, and he hopes to help people share their gifts with God.
“Stewardship, for me, it really begins with prayer and thanksgiving,” he said. So he wants to communicate and reinforce that sense. He said he’s already come to learn of the diocese’s “long-standing history of support” for the United Catholic Appeal and various other missions and plans to spend time traveling the diocese to listen to and learn from the faithful “to really discover what they’re passionate about and how they want to share those gifts to help propel Christ’s mission in the local church.”
In fact, he invited readers who want to arrange a visit to their parish to get in touch with him through the diocesan website at www.dioceseduluth.org/stewardship-programs. He said he hopes to introduce parishes to a pastoral letter on stewardship and to provide parishes with practical tools to help them grow in stewardship.
On the personal side, Lichty said he and his family also appreciate the opportunities northern Minnesota provides for getting outdoors and being close to nature. He’s a sports fan — especially hockey — and enjoys silence, ice fishing, and teaching kids carpentry.
His first days on the job seem to have been promising. “The bishop is authentically meek and humble of heart. He just seems like a great, great pastor,” Lichty said. “The staff here have been extremely welcoming, very friendly.”