“We have four children and therefore four beneficiaries,” shares Paul Lum Lung of St. Thomas More Parish. “But we recently decided to add a fifth child, The Catholic Foundation.”
Retired couple Paul and Colleen Lum Lung will tell you they are the proud parents of four children and blessed grandparents of 11 grandchildren. They happily add a fifth child was welcomed into their family. The couple pours in as much time, love and financial support into the fifth as their other children. This new child they call the Church.
The Lum Lungs, who are active at their parish in Centennial, dedicated a portion of their wealth to benefit their faith community. The Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado helped them set aside their assets—20 percent for each of their four children and the Church—and ensure the blessings they received are continued among the ministries close to their hearts, long after they have passed away.
A planned gift allows the Lum Lungs to use assets such as real estate, life insurance policies or IRAs to help impact the souls of generations to come, they said.
At first it was difficult for Colleen, a former nurse practitioner, and Paul, a former captain of the Army Signal Corps and manager in the telecom industry, to make regular donations while also raising a family.
“Neither Colleen nor I inherited anything,” Paul said.
Their desire to give grew over time.
Colleen remembered her father placing money in the collection basket. At Marquette University where she met Paul, she gave what she could, even if only a penny. When married, Colleen and Paul gave to the Church, although it wasn’t a priority.
“When looking closer into our faith, God put it on our hearts that we should try (giving),” Colleen shared about their discernment. “We would donate, but we certainly weren’t tithing. Truly, once we started tithing we never looked back because Our Lady and her Son always took care of us.”
A turning point came in 2005 when they entered the Denver Catholic Biblical School and Catechetical School.
“We learned more about our faith. The Bible was no longer a table ornament,” Colleen said. “We began to realize that our blessings are not ours but God’s. You can’t take it with you and you’re going to be held accountable for all that you had and did with God’s gifts—time, talent and treasure. When this happened, we started to live like we were led by God, not the world.”
They opened their eyes to the needs around them. They began to support parish building funds, Catholic Charities, FOCUS, the Augustine Institute and more. At St. Thomas More, they volunteer their time and facilitate Catholic studies. Their donations in the Sunday basket grew to planned giving through The Foundation, where they have confidence their donations will be used in line with the faith.
“I think we learned God cannot be outdone in generosity,” Paul said. “The Catholic Foundation will do the best that it can to make sure our wishes are honored.”
The Lum Lungs said their faith and their desire to give foster each other.
“The giving has supported the growth in our faith and the growth in faith has supported our desire to give,” she said.
Paul added, “The bottom line is we’re very blessed and that means we should help others.”
Paul and Colleen’s take on giving
Q: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer or donor?
A: We tell people that if you tell the Lord and Mary that you want to do something to help other people and offer them your willingness, you can count on the fact that something will be presented to you. You just have to ask. Our Lord and his mom are very polite. They will not push themselves on us or act to do something against our free will. If we say ‘yes’ to them then they will give us exactly what is best for us. We just have to be aware and open.
Q: What are the benefits of giving?
A: For us it’s to grow the faith and also to show our family the importance of donating. It also creates a sense of community. We think that’s been lost in our technological age. We have a beautiful family and plenty of blessings—so we need to share some of that with others. As our faith grows our giving grows, and we all benefit. Our children are also very supportive of our giving. They actually make donations in our names on our birthdays.