Donor Values Glenmary Ministry Because of His Life Experiences

Posted: 8/20/2016

James Montgomery and family

Glenmary missioners encourage the growth and blooming of Catholic communities in United States mission areas, nurturing them while caring for the needs of all their counties’ residents, both material and spiritual. In much the same way, Glenmary’s donors nurture the home mission society. Supporters such as Jim Montgomery, 81, of Bloomington, Ind., have provided many years of assistance through ongoing donations to Glenmary’s Annual Fund.

“Glenmary is a great bunch of people,” Jim said. “I believe in what you are doing 100 percent. Your order is small but mighty, and divine intervention is on your side: When some of my siblings and I got together for fun a couple of times in Kentucky after our retirement, we discovered there was a storefront Catholic church nearby. It reminded me again of Glenmary’s work.”

Jim—a widower with three children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren—has supported Glenmary for 38 years. But he recently expanded that assistance by becoming a major donor and also, in 2016, by making a planned gift through an annuity.

He first found out about Glenmary’s work in a letter he received by mail. He hadn’t known before about this group that establishes a Catholic presence in Appalachian and Southern counties where there was none before. But because of past experiences, he knew of the need for such a ministry. 

Then and now, Jim relates to Glenmary missioners serving communities in areas where Catholics are few and far between—and access to the sacraments is scarce. Glenmary’s ministry reminds him of parishes in his home diocese of Owensboro, Ky., a rural diocese where Glenmary has had missions in the past. His parents raised their nine children as Catholics, and the family worked hard to make a living off the land before eventually purchasing their own small farm. Meanwhile, they faithfully attended the nearby Catholic church and school. 

As a young adult, Jim served in the Navy as a radioman and learned to cherish his faith even more, attending Masses on rocking ships and under a shade tree in the Philippines—the latter liturgy celebrated by Cardinal Francis Spellman. Later, as a member of the Air Force, he and his family lived in rural Mississippi and had to travel 20 miles for Mass.

When he received his first Glenmary mailing in 1978, “I was very interested,” he said. “Their publications have interested me ever since, and I have always wanted to read about what they are doing.”

He first learned about donors making planned gifts when “I saw a planned giver’s name in a Glenmary publication—the name of a friend who went to school with my wife.” Jim contacted Glenmary planned giving officer Susan Lambert, who gave him more information and answered additional questions about Glenmary’s mission and ministry. “Since I was able [to establish an annuity], I decided it would be a good thing to do,” Jim said. His annuity allows Glenmary to make long-range plans for its future while making payments to him. In June 2016, he attended his first Father Bishop Legacy Society luncheon at Glenmary’s Cincinnati headquarters. 

The proceeds from such gifts as annuities, bequests and life insurance policies are not realized until after the donors pass away, so when generous people take the step of making these planned gifts to Glenmary, they help ensure that the society’s work will continue into the future. “As long as we keep having people fund annuities, or donate part of their IRAs, or name us a beneficiary of their life insurance policies, we’ll keep having the funds we need to do our work,” Susan said. 

Today, Jim still loves and values attending Mass, calling it “the highlight of my day.” He has attended daily liturgy on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington for 30 years. He also values and supports Glenmary because its missioners make the gifts of the Church accessible to people in remote U.S. rural areas and serve all those in need there.

“I think Glenmary does wonderful things,” said Jim.

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2016 Planning Ahead newsletter.