Stewardship: What's it all about?

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Brother Paul L. Gauvin, S.C.

A Steward is: Someone who manages or cares for one's own property or the property of another. We are stewards of that which has been given to us by those who have preceded us as parishioners of [Saint Luke]. It is our task to care for our parish and the property which comprises our parish and which we will pass on to those who will come after us. Stewardship of [Saint Luke] Parish is an important responsibility for us all.

The Essence of Stewardship Giving: It teaches us a different way of thinking about parish giving. Instead of just giving a few dollars from our pocket when the collection basket comes around, Stewardship giving means that we take a few moments, every year, sit down and calculate what percentage of giving we intend for the coming year. We do this in a spiritual way, thanking God for the good things we have been given.

Stewardship--Giving to God through the Parish: It is done in a spirit of gratitude, of thanksgiving -this is why Stewardship giving is spiritual. It is the biblical teaching of the tithe -the giving back to God one-tenth of what God has given us. We have received so much from God over a lifetime: our life, our health, our families, our country, our possessions. Even if we thank God every minute of every day we would not have enough time to thank God enough.

Stewardship In the Bible: God's People are asked to return a first portion of everything that God has given. That same principle applies today--a percentage of a paycheck, interest payments, an unexpected winning, sale of property, Social Security check, even a weekly allowance in the case of children. (This is good training/or children.)

Stewardship--You decide what to Give: The percentage of your income given to God is for you to decide. A common suggestion is that 4% of your income goes for parish support; 1% to the Archbishop's Annual Appeal; 5% for other charitable work. If everyone gives in proportion to his/her means, using a percentage formula, then everyone's gift is equal, regardless of income. When we consider that we usually leave a 15% tip after a meal in a restaurant, setting aside 10% of our income in gratitude to God is not extravagant.

Stewardship reminds us that our gift to God through the parish must entail some sacrifice--that is, it must be more than we would first think of giving or more than we first think we can afford--it is not what we have leftover from what we've spent on ourselves. Our giving back to God a portion of His blessings should hurt just a little bit, otherwise it is not a sacrifice.

Stewardship is like this: If God has given us ten apples and we are grateful, and then says, ""May I have one apple back in thanksgiving so that I can use it to preach the Gospel to others?" Surely, we would not hesitate, because we still have the other nine. So, if God has given us $10, or $100, or $1,000--or whatever our weekly income is--and he asks for one tenth back are we to say "No !"?

Stewardship: Every week we attend Mass also called the Eucharist--a word which means thanksgiving. The principal prayer in the Mass is the Eucharistic Prayer by which we thank God for all blessings, especially salvation from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In heaven our joy will be to thank God for all eternity.

Stewardship encourages everyone to be regular in using the stewardship envelopes and to make up for the weekends missed because of inclement weather, illness or vacation.  Some may prefer to give monthly, quarterly or even annually.

The stewardship envelope is our gift wrapping for our tithe to God each week. Just as we would never think of giving a birthday or Christmas gift to someone unwrapped, so we should wrap our weekly offering to God in the proper envelope.

Stewardship and Income Tax: The parish will be happy to give each contributor, upon request, a year-end-report of his/her contributions provided these contributions have been identified (stewardship envelope) and not anonymously given.

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