The same year that the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota (CCF) was established, Stan Mader was ordained to the priesthood. Over the last 30 years, Father Stan Mader has led multiple parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and worked in the Archdiocese’s Office of Vocations. Today he is the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waconia.
The lifelong baseball fan still mans the outfield in a baseball league for men over 50 and has participated in multiple on-field training camps led by former professional players. He has led pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Italy, Portugal and France.
But it’s parish life that brings him the most joy.
“You have a front-row seat to the Holy Spirit working in the lives of people,” Father Mader says.
By partnering with CCF to create a charitable legacy, Father Mader also has a front-row seat to the impact of philanthropy.
Lessons Instilled on the Farm
The 66-year-old priest now ministers just a short drive from his family farm in St. Bonifacius. That’s where he learned about stewardship firsthand. His parents were caring stewards of their land. They worked and improved their acreage knowing it would be entrusted to someone else one day.
When Father Mader concluded a lengthy pastorship at Our Lady of the Lake in Mound, he gratefully accepted donations to benefit Catholic schools. As donations came in, he deposited them into a checking account. But the former system software specialist and business owner knew that more could be done with those funds.
He turned to CCF to ensure those gifts and future funds could make the largest impact.
“It’s about a legacy, but in my case, it’s also for giving while I’m living,” he says.
How and when Father Mader will begin distributing those funds is yet to be determined. That’s the benefit of having a flexible donor advised fund that gives him control and tax benefits. He likens it to a charitable checking account.
Three Decades of Priestly Services
Looking back on three decades of ministry, he often reflects on questions he encourages other priests consider.
What do we want to do with what the Lord has given us? How do we want to be remembered? How do we want the work of the Church to continue?
Father Mader hopes he’s remembered as a servant who always tried to help people. He knows that his legacy will live on through the gifts he’s entrusted to CCF to support Catholic education — and more — in perpetuity.
“Philanthropy is a good way to pay back and continue the work that we’re a part of,” he says.