My dream for our Parish, when it comes to Stewardship:
These are just a few of my dreams for Stewardship at St. Mark. As you can see we have our work cut out for us but, I expect in five years that many of these dreams will come to fruition. I’m sure we could put many other things on this list and with God’s grace, we can accomplish it all.
- I wish to provide our parishioners with the spiritual enrichment and growth to discover God's presence and love in their lives.
- I wish to see at least 75% of our parish involved in some form of ministry activity.
- All offerings pay for everything we need or desire to evangelize God’s love and mercy to our community.
- There will be no second collections for anything except maybe for a special fund drive for charity outside of our parish community.
- We tithe up to 10% of our weekly offertory to charities in and around our parish community. We would have a board of parishioners who would be responsible for dispensing the monies.
- Any remodeling or repairs needed for any of our buildings or ministries will be covered by the talents of parishioners free of charge.
- We adopt a Catholic parish of low resources in a third world country to help in their mission.
- We help the elderly in our parish with household chores (grass cutting, home repairs, etc.) for those physically unable to do so.
- I wish to have a Spiritual Center where people of all ages and faiths can come to St. Mark and learn about God and the Church.
When I was still a fairly new Priest, I was looking for ways to enliven and bolster my faith in God. I realized early on that Faith needs to be challenged and nurtured or it would become static and die.
One day as I was chatting with an individual who was such a joyful and holy person, I asked him to tell me the secret of his holiness. He told me that the attitude of “gratefulness” to God for all he has and all he is has helped him in his faith life. He realized that everything is a gift in this life and he needed to give back to God for all that he has been gifted. Thus, he began giving of his Time, Talent, and Treasure to his Church and community and found the more he gave, the more blessings came his way!
He began to take greater risks in his business and personal life and found that if he followed these basic principles, more and more began to come to him. Not that he did Stewardship for what he would get back, but he sensed how different he felt about himself and about life. He became more trusting in God and had more people than he could count who called him their friend. “It was amazing”, he said. “I started out small and it grew like that mustard seed Jesus talks about in Scripture where it turns into a huge tree where the birds nest and provides shade for the weary.”
As I began to practice Stewardship in my own life, my Priesthood began to change. Insights into God’s desire for my life began to affect the way I preached, the way I related to people, and more importantly, it took away the fear! I became bolder and more confident and I began to see even greater changes in the lives of people in whom I ministered. I hope it does the same for you as you begin this understanding of the Stewardship way of life. If you believe in God, you believe in Stewardship! Take the step and see what awaits you.