Next Sunday will be “Stewardship Sunday” in our parish. Within the next couple of weeks I will publish something about stewardship in line with the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal 2014. I hope that everybody will take the time to read these articles so that there will be an understanding and appreciation of what stewardship is all about. These articles will be based primarily on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) pastoral letter, “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response” and on
First, it is worth meditating on this paragraph of the bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship:
The idea and the practice of stewardship have the power to change our self-understanding and our understanding of the meaning of our lives. Steward-disciples recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and all they are. They see themselves as caretakers of God’s gifts. They are grateful for what they have received and are eager to cultivate their gifts out of love for God and one another.
Reflecting on the above paragraph, we realize that stewardship is grounded in faith. This is what our faith in God tells us: without God we can do nothing. But thanks be to God we are chosen as stewards of God’s gifts. These gifts that are entrusted to us define who we and what we are. What we do with these gifts determines what kind of stewards we are.
We were created to be God’s stewards of many gifts and thereby we give glory to the Lord in our worship and in prayer. The cornerstone of our relationship with God is communication expressed through prayer and worship. Prayer is a lifting up of our hearts and our minds to God. An excellent way to pray, of course, is through our celebration of the Eucharist. When we celebrate the mass we gather as a community to give thanks and praise for the many gifts that God has given us.
A good steward is a grateful person who shares his or her blessings with others. This is what a good steward does. The gifts in the form of time, talent and treasure are always meant to be shared with others. Good stewardship is, therefore, faith in action, that is, a faith that is expressed in the love of God by prayer and worship and the love of neighbor by sharing one’s gifts.
We must keep in mind that we are not just stewards of God’s gifts. We are Christian stewards. We are stewards who belong to a parish community here at St. Patrick’s and to the larger church community of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
There are many ways by which we can exercise our stewardship. Our parish offers a lot of opportunities to all who would like to share their time, talent and treasure. We have various ministries and programs that are designed to serve not just our community but the community at large as well. Liturgical ministry, Religious Education Program, St. Vincent de Paul Conference, RCIA are some of our ministries and programs. Of course your financial support of our parish would ensure that we are able to continue offering these services. However, there are ministries and programs that are beyond the capability of any single parish. Our parish is part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and there are programs provided by the Archdiocese that we cannot do as a parish. To name a few: Marriage Tribunal, Hospital Chaplains, Detention Ministry, Ethnic Ministry, Ongoing Formation of the clergy and support for seminarians and retired priests.
In view of this, next Sunday we are launching the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal 2014. The appeal is meant to support the many programs and services that the Archdiocese offers to the community at large. Archbishop Cordileone, in his letter about the appeal, reminds us that we, like King David should sing a psalm of praise and thanksgiving for the many blessings that we received. He also encourages us to share what we receive.
This year our parish is assessed $57,100. Considering that our parish is relatively small in terms of registered parishioners, I understand that we only have a little more than 400 families registered; we need all the help from our friends and visitors to meet that amount. If we are able to meet our goal with your support and generosity, the money that exceeds our assessment will be returned to our parish and will be used to pay off the balance of the more than $400,000 roof replacement project which was finished last year before Christmas.
For those of you, who have been supporting our parish and the AAA, thank you so much for your generosity. You know where your treasure is, when you support the AAA to further the New Evangelization in our Archdiocese. The Appeal is really all about promoting the gospel values or the values of God’s Kingdom as we continue to give thanks to God for the many gifts given to us.