196 North Trooper Road
Oh Lord, giver of life and source of our freedom, we know that it is from Your hand we have received all that we have, are and will be. As your Disciples here at Visitation B.V.M. we ask You to hear our prayers as we seek to be good Stewards of the many gifts You have bestowed on us. Give us wisdom to discern Your will, stengthen us to meet the challenge, and give us the grace to be steadfast in our commitment to You. Let us use our Time, Talent, and Treasure for Your greater honor and glory. We pray with grateful hearts, in Jesus' name.
What makes Catholic Stewardship different from humanitarianism is that it is not simply giving away our goods to the needy," notes Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia. "Many people do that every day. Catholic Stewardship always begins with God." It is the need for Catholics to recognize that all they have, are and will be are gifts from their Creator. The faithful have the further need, given this recognition, to share these gifts through their time, talents and treasure in accordance with their blessings.
Stewardship is the need for Catholics to recognize that all they have, are, and will be, are gifts from the Creator. The faithful have the further need, given this recognition, that it is their responsibility to share these gifts--via their time, talent and treasure, in accordance with their blessings.
"Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, yours are the eyes through which he goes about doing good, yours are the hands with which he is to bless people now " (St. Teresa of Avila)
The U.S. Bishops in their 1992 Pastoral "Stewardship: A Disciple's Response" tell us that:
As Christians Stewards, we:
- receive God's gifts gratefully;
Stewardship is based on the spiritual principles of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus.
"Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful to his gifts." (1 Corinthians 41-2)
It is a lifestyle, a life of total accountability and responsibility. It is the acknowledging of God as the Creator and Owner of all. Christian Stewards see themselves as the caretakers of all Gods' gifts. Gratitude for these many gifts is expressed in prayer, worship, offering and action. It is a way of life. It is a way of thanking God for all his blessings by returning to him a portion of the many gifts (things like our time, talent and treasure) that we have been given. It involves the intentional, planned and proportionate giving of all we have.
Finally, stewardship encourages everyone to participate in the task of building the Kingdom of God. When we explain that God has given each of us certain things, that these gifts are our responsibility to care for, and that we are accountable for what we do with these gifts, then there is no doubt that everyone should be involved. Stewardship rejects the notion that we must "have it all" and instead, demonstrates the value of giving in love, in service and in justice.
"We must do the deeds of Him who sent me while it is still day." (John 9:4)
The difference is the motivation for giving. It is so easy to put our lives on hold and with it all of our good intentions. "Someday when I have more time" or "When I've reached my goals" or "I'll give my share of time, talent and treasure but not right now." What will we tell those in need of prayer, in need of a kind ear or the hundreds of other acts of stewardship that will go undone and the gifts that the Lord has given us that will go unshared if we all were to think that way? Stewardship acknowledges that God is the source of all of our gifts and talents, and we are the caretakers of these gifts. Effective stewardship education and formation relies on leadership by example.
Stewardship encourages us to make a difference and to become involved. - Causes families to re-examine their relationship with God, each other, the workplace, the community, and the Parish. - Increases awareness and appreciation of the presence of the Lord in our lives.
Where stewardship has been implemented, both givers and receivers lives have been changed. True conversion has taken place in the hearts and minds of many who embrace Stewardship as a way of life.
"While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people - but especially to those of the household of the faith." (Galatians 6:10)
Stewardship parishes ask people of faith to renew their commitment to living as Stewards of God's gifts. We ask all parishioners to pray and reflect on ways gifts of time and talent are shared at home, in the workplace, in the community, and in the parish. - We need to decide how much our faith mean to us; what is the value of our faith. - Adult discipleship requires a conscious decision on the part of those who believe. - Regular Stewardship renewals remind us of our commitments and challenge us to think, pray, and decide how we are going to live our lives as disciples of Jesus. (Much like annual wedding anniversaries are a time for married couples to reflect upon their commitment to each other and renew that commitment.)
Good stewards become very conscious of living as disciples of Jesus each moment of each day.
Jesus made it clear in the scriptures that being stewards of all the gifts God has given us (like our time, talent and treasure) is part of the will of his Father.
"Put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has received
Our time, our talents, and our material possessions constitute just some of the treasures we have been given by our very generous God. Sharing these gifts involves being with God in prayer and worship, using our gifts to help build God's Kingdom among our family and friends, our workplace, and our communities and parishes. It means becoming ministers of the Gospel in our communities and parishes in new (and perhaps not-so-new) ways!
"Give and it shall be given to you For the measure on measure with will be measure back to you." (Luke 6:38)
No. The primary vocation of the laity is to transform the world to Christ. We do this best when we share and use the gifts our generous God has given us in love and justice first at home, then in the workplace, then in our communities and parishes. Certainly, the parish is a focal point for disciples of Jesus. It is there that we come together to celebrate our faith, share in the Eucharist, and become empowered to be Eucharist (the Body of Christ) in the world. Our parish is central to our gathering for prayer and worship, celebrating the Sacraments, meeting and planning the work of the church, and celebrating the gift of each other. We have an important responsibility to our parish to plan ways we can use and share our gifts there, but we must remember that our sense of stewardship needs to be kept broad.
The life of a Christian steward models the life of Jesus. It is challenging and even difficult, in many respects, yet intense joy comes to those who take the risk to live as Christian stewards. Women and men who seek to live as stewards learn that.