By Fr. Dan Merz
There are a lot of firsts for me here at Newman. First transition during a pandemic (hopefully my last!). First time having an associate pastor to live and work with (I could have done a lot worse!). And – besides my first assignment to Newman – now my first Season of Stewardship.
Our diocesan Director of Stewardship, Fr. Stephen Jones, told me that Newman has a great tradition of stewardship. What makes it great is the deeper understanding that stewardship is holistic! You understand that the first and most important tithe the Lord wants is your very person.
We have a jealous God, who doesn’t want to be paid off. He wants to be brought in: brought into how we spend our time; brought into how we use our talents; brought into how we minister our money.
At every staff meeting at Newman, I get to hear reports of our stewardship of your volunteering, of your praying and catechizing, and of your financial gifts. The longer I’m here, the more I learn about what we already do, and even beginning to catch glimpses and insights of a vision of how we can grow our stewardship, of how we can grow this portion of the Lord’s vineyard. A wise priest once told me that we must always be more mission than maintenance, because maintenance alone is caretaking the dying, but mission is inspiration for the living!
As we begin this year’s Season of Stewardship, our theme is “Who We Are.” Who are we? We are given. Given by God; given for others. In 1 Corinthians 4:7, St. Paul reminds us, “What do you possess that you have not received?” In this spirit, we enter into the Season of Stewardship, mindful of what we have received and what we are called to share with others.
And so, I ask you and your family to spend time prayerfully discerning how God is calling you to steward your gifts. Reflect upon the blessings that God has given you this year. How are you called to respond in gratitude?
On the weekend of January 30/31, we will ask you to make a response through your parish intention card. If you’re participating in Mass from home, you can mail your card back to the parish or complete it online at comonewman.org/stewardship.
In God’s providence, nothing is wasted. In the mission of our Parish, your stewardship of Prayer, Formation, Hospitality, Service, and Treasure will not be wasted either. I’m delighted we’re in this mission together. Come aboard, all!