Being a Stewardship Parish

Our new year is now well under way, both socially and spiritually. We’ve moved into the middle of February,
and now, are only three days from Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Hopefully the improvements and the spiritual
designs for our lives that we’ve committed to (as our new year’s resolutions) will morph seamlessly into our Lenten
sacrifices and positive life-style improvements.

Some years back, we dedicated our parish to being a “Stewardship Parish”, which simply means that we, as a
consolidation of Catholic families, will strive to live lives that are distinctly other-focused. We will espouse kindness
and caring towards all others in need…no matter the need. That need may be health-related insecurity, financial need,
societal loneliness, or healing from most any kind of hurt or loss. I have been blessed to be a part of this generously
caring parish family for almost 10 years now. And, I want to encourage all of our families (and individuals), especially
those who are relatively new, to embrace this “tradition” of being kind and generous stewards. Let those reciprocal
graces that will pour out upon you, for your kind actions and works, be a source of peace and joy throughout Lent, and
all through this new year.

Today, the 2018 Bishop’s Annual Stewardship Appeal will be presented for our response and commitment. An
excellent video presents a compelling accounting of the many needs that abound in our society, in our diocese, today.
We are all called to give, me as well, within our means, with a touch of sacrifice which brings the resultant joy. Let us
not forget, our God loves a joyful giver. Be generous. It is prudent to respond to Christ’s pastoral call, to all of us, to be
charitable and generous. He promises his reciprocal response will be one that is overflowing. Let us reflect on our
overall call to Discipleship… and being good stewards of our gifts of time talent and treasure. Attentive and heartfelt
stewardship is the mark of a faithful disciple.

I have been asked by quite a few people, these past 2 weeks, about how to calculate their charitable giving,
when there are several invitations inviting our financial support. While I am in no way a math major, there is an old rule
of thumb passed down through the decades, that recommends apportioning your charitable giving by deciding the total
sacrifice you can reasonably afford. Then, utilizing the oft-referenced tithe, or 10% of one’s income (more yet if
prosperous), divide the 10% in this manner: 5% given in support of your parish church; 3% given in support of the
Bishop’s Appeal; and 2% given to your other favorite charities. Simply put, prayerfully decide on the percent of your
annual income that you will donate to charitable needs. Then, use that 5%, 3%, and 2% formula to divide and apportion
your total gift.

As mentioned in recent weeks, our local parish stewardship appeal results have not met expectations and have
fallen a bit behind last year. The increase in the percentage of our significantly larger parish population, that give $2 or
less each week, has increased each of the last three years. And currently we are barely making ends meet. So please, as I encourage you to be generous to the B.A.S.A., also take a look at your weekly parish Stewardship of Treasure
commitment, and if you have yet to do so, complete it and submit it, and strive to make some small increase over last
year. Another serious Stewardship need, involves your time and talent. Our existing Ministries, as well as the several
additional ministries we are hoping to get started, are all in need of members and in many instances, new volunteer
leaders. We currently have 30 ministries that are up-and-running, and all could use additional membership…and, in
several instances…new leadership. My goal for many of the ministries is to select multiple (Co-chairs if you will)
leaders for the ministry in order to alleviate any undue pressure or excessive time required to operate efficiently.

Currently we are looking for 2 or 3 (couples or individuals) leaders to take over our Stewardship Responsibilities, we currently have one person who has volunteered to serve in concert with another new leader. We also need one or two couples who have been through an annulment experience, to be trained as our parish Annulment
Companion(s). If you enjoy delving into matters financial, we need more members on our Parish Finance Council, and
we are looking for a volunteer(s) to apply for leading the Council. Our Parish Pastoral Council is also in need of more
representatives, and our new President of this Council, Mike Devine, would welcome your interest and participation, as
there is a whole lot of planning going on. Our Welcoming Ministry is in dire need of revitalization, and I would love to
see two or three couples step forward as Co-Chairs to lead this critically important parish outreach. The time demands
for most all of these ministries is quite minimal. If you have an inkling, but feel uncertain, please give me a call and we
can discuss the possibilities and the time requirements, with no pressure to accede.

Let us bask in the joy God bestows on givers,