STEWARDSHIP always starts with a personal relationship of the Risen Christ in our hearts. Stewardship is our call to discipleship, which was given to us in baptism. Following Christ as a disciple requires a personal response that can transform us and our entire parish.
In October 2014, our parish formally answered the call of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to the mission of Stewardship. As a result, Resurrection Catholic Parish will now be known as a “Stewardship Parish.” This means that our parish will plan, organize and implement our activities in reference to the four pillars of Stewardship: Hospitality, Prayer, Formation and Service.
Obviously, Resurrection Parish has already been doing many of the activities associated with stewardship. By officially accepting the Stewardship model, though, our work as a parish will be more consistent and effective in carrying out our mission of evangelization.
A steward at the time of Jesus was someone whom the head of a household put in charge of the functioning of the house. The steward did not do his own work, but the work of his master. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to do something similar. As Christian stewards, we stand in the place of God, managing the things of our lives: our time, abilities and possessions. We are not to simply focus on our own needs and interests but to take into account the work of God that we are called to do by virtue of our baptism. At the heart of the gospel is the teaching of Jesus calling us to die to self so that others may live. The four pillars of Stewardship will aid us in that mission.
THE FOUR PILLARS OF PARISH STEWARDSHIP
HOSPITALITY “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.” (Mt.25:35) Jesus Christ teaches that whenever we welcome one of the least of our sisters and brothers, we welcome Christ himself. Members of a steward-ship parish seek to see the face of Christ in one another, and welcome each other as special.*
This parish has always been a warm, accepting parish for some people. As a Stewardship Parish we will now step up our activities in this area. We will make a concerted effort to be more open to visitors to our parish. We will need to have more greeters at both entrances of the church on the weekends, welcoming especially those we do not know. We will use a more organized approach in reaching out to those who are visiting or who are new parishioners. We will recruit more parishioners to serve as Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Sacristans and servers at Mass. We have set up a permanent Information Desk in the back of the church to serve as a resource for information about the parish and for ways in which new parishioners and visitors can become more easily involved in the life of the parish.
PRAYER A steward strives to nourish the soul through prayer. Prayer is as necessary to our souls as food is to our bodies. It is in prayer that we nurture our personal relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.*
A renewed emphasis on prayer will now occur in this parish. In addition to the weekend Masses, more prayer events and opportunities will be developed to assist parishioners in their spiritual growth and strengthened relationship with the Lord. Each of us should make involvement in these prayer events a high priority in our lives. Our prayer life is more important than TV programs, sporting events or hobbies. Although all of these are good in their own way, the importance of making time for prayer, especially communal prayer, should be reflected in our daily choices. Consistent with this approach, our parish has acquired an exact replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta, sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museum. It is now placed in the entrance to the church. This marvelous statue will inspire people to a renewed devotion to our Blessed Mother and to her Son, Jesus. We will also continue to offer Taize prayer, adoration services and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
FORMATION As a steward grows in the life of prayer, God reveals Himself more intimately in this personal relationship. The steward understands that the gifts received from God are to be shared and not buried. These gifts of time, talent and treasure are to be shared with others with generous and grateful hearts.*
Within the terms of Stewardship, you will see an expansion of opportunities for Faith Formation for the children and also for the adults of this parish. Our parish has already made amazing progress in this area during the past several years in the way of retreats, missions, Saturday morning catechesis for both men and women, bible study groups, and devotional aids, such as the Little Books series, Bringing Home the Word and Magnificat, which are made available during the year. There will be more.
SERVICE Members of a stewardship parish are ready to minister to the many needs of their own parish family as well as the needs of the wider community and the Church. Just as the members of a family come together to help one of their own, a stewardship parish family serves those who are hurting or in need, doubting or seeking salvation. Stewards also come together to celebrate and to thank God for all the gifts God gives us.*
Our parish is already engaging in a large number of ministries, both within the parish and in the surrounding communities. A concerted effort will be made this coming year to recruit new members to these ministries so that they can continue to develop. There is the mythical number of seven percent in any organization which tend to do 100% of the work. That cannot be true of our parish if we are each listening to the call of the Holy Service to service in helping those in need.
I find the prospect of us being a “Stewardship Parish” very exciting. I hope you do too. I pray that you will listen to the call of the Holy Spirit in how you can implement each of the Four Pillars of Stewardship in your own life and in the lives of your families and in your neighborhoods.
I encourage you to pay close attention to the opportunities for growth and service as they arise. Please make them a high priority in your life and draw closer to Jesus each day.
*(Adapted from The Pillars of Parish Stewardship document from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita)
See also Stewardship, A Disciple’s Response by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops