Giving to Our Faith Community — By Gary Winters

063My wife, Wanda, and I started coming to Newman in 1990 when we moved from Fulton to Columbia. We picked the Newman Center because we had two teenage boys and hoped the influence of college students would help them recognize the importance in keeping God in their lives. Wanda, who had a great influence on me and my faith, passed away in 2009.

Wanda always made sure we went to church. She always found time to read the Bible, even though we still had to raise our sons. Besides that, she worked a full-time job. Wanda always set aside 10 percent of our salaries and gave back to the church or some other areas that were in need.

After my wife passed away, I had time on my hands, so I started volunteering. I became a Greeter at the 9 a.m. Mass. I got smart and joined a small Bible study group. This group also helps serve and cook at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen. I have also made sure that in my will and trust that Newman is in it — not as my church, but OUR church. Every time I do a little more, I find myself getting closer to God.

When I look at our church community, I see a lot of hope in our young families and our students.

I know many in our congregation have young children, and it is their duty to take care of raising these young people so they have the understanding of the importance of God in their lives. I do hope each parent still finds time to talk with God. He is always there to listen. Remember God and our children are watching and listening to us.

I hope we can also always remember that, as a Newman Center, this great parish would not be here if it was not for the students. It is our obligation to show them the importance of faith through our actions. These students will go out in the world and spread the Catholic faith. I have watched these students help in Loaves and Fishes, and it excites me to see them give back to this community.

Soon it will be Lent. I hope that each and everyone here will find time to give up something and give that back to our faith community.

God has given each one of us talents. Sometimes we can use these talents here at church. Sometimes we can use them someplace else by volunteering our time. The original twelve disciples, who went out into the world to spread the Good News, each had their own talents. We are the new disciples of God. As disciples we must say, “yes Lord I will do your will” with these gifts and talents God has given us.

Let us use our special talents to spread the Word of God. Please pray with me to thank God for all of our gifts He has given to us. I hope you will take the time to pray about your gifts and how you will give back to God.