“Lord God, You alone are the source of every good gift. Everything we are and everything we have belongs to You and is Your gift.”
-excerpt from the Church of St. Edward Stewardship Prayer
Please meditate on the words above for just a moment. Let the words settle into your mind and your heart. Embrace them. They are the starting point for true stewardship—acknowledging that all we have belongs to God. We are stewards of who we are and what we have, in our possession for a time but only in safekeeping, not belonging to us alone. We receive all we have as gifts from God—for our use, but also to be shared with others. We return a portion of what we have received to God in thanksgiving.
At the Church of St. Edward we have a tradition that began more than twenty-five years ago of talking about “Stewardship as a Way of Life.” For many years this way of life served our parish well. Now we are making a major effort to renew it by sharing our time, talent and treasure—not based just upon the needs of Church, but based more importantly on sharing as a part of living our faith, a part of our spiritual journey. Giving is about our need as faithful Catholic Christians to give.
A book that has become very popular in recent years is The Story of a Catholic Parish Rebuilt by Michael White and Tom Corcoran. It describes a model for stewardship that is being used to guide our parish’s renewal effort. It challenges members to become:
Planned Givers: designating money in their budget to give
Priority Givers: giving to God first before other expenses
Percentage Givers: giving a percentage, not a dollar amount
Progressive Givers: increasing the percentage regularly
Following the “Four P’s”, we invite all parish members to move giving to first place in their household budget by first calculating how much to give as a percentage of income. Doing this will move members towards our recommended goal of tithing.
Tithing? Do people really do that? Actually, yes, some do. But most do not. Our committee recognizes that reality. However, setting it as your goal to be achieved over time, maybe over many years, and calculating your giving budget as a percentage of your income is a good way to start towards this goal. Remember the fourth “P” which asks that you be progressive—increasing the percentage that you give over time. Think also about the front of our parish envelopes which read, “Tithing means donating 10% of your income: 5% directly to the parish and 5% to the poor and other charities.”
This fall our parish has been blessed! Two anonymous donor families have stepped forward with exceptionally generous gifts to the parish of $100,000 each. One of these was received recently to coincide with the Feast of St. Edward. Another will be contributed soon. In the spirit of this great generosity, all the rest of us are asked to increase stated intentions for the next twelve months so that the cumulative increase is greater than $200,000. Notice that the enclosed intention card asks what you have given over the past twelve months and then asks that you record what you intend to give over the next twelve months. The difference between those two amounts will be each household’s contribution towards meeting the $200,000 increase. Our committee looks forward to calculating everyone’s cumulative increases, with the hope that it will exceed even the great generosity of our two special families.
Stewardship Renewal Month is also about the renewal of our giving of time and talent. Our goal is for all parishioners to go beyond Mass attendance and become active participants in the ministry of the Church—to become true disciples of Jesus. Many of you are active ministers already. Please indicate on the card your intention to continue in that ministry. Otherwise, write your area of interest and someone already active in ministry will contact you. While the card suggests broad areas of ministry, details about many opportunities for participation can be found on our website or Facebook page. Please visit those resources.
Our Stewardship Committee asks that you take these next steps:
1. Consider and pray over your personal commitment to “Stewardship as a Way of Life”
2. Complete a “Stewardship Renewal Intention Card”
3. Participate in our “Ceremony of Stewardship Intention” at all Masses on October 22/23
Our goal is to receive a Stewardship Renewal Intention Card from every member household. If you are unable to attend Mass on October 22/23, please mail your card to the parish office or drop it in the collection basket before the end of October. Stewardship committee members will gently reach out to households for which we do not receive a card.
Our Stewardship Committee has also been renewed recently—assembled anew after the parish was without one for a time. This committee is supported by Father Brian and all parish leadership. Going forward, Stewardship Renewal Month will be an annual event in October—the ONLY TIME during the year that everyone will be asked to reconsider and increase their giving. Other fundraisers will be for special purposes only and not the general parish budget. Our committee’s sincere hope is that with the success of our stewardship renewal, there will be enough funds available for all special purposes as well.
Please pray for our parish, that we may be blessed with great success in this Stewardship Renewal!
Stewardship Committee Chair
Stewardship Committee Members