At our most recent Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference, Fr. Jim Golka — the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in North Platte, Neb. — gave a wonderful presentation on how they have successfully developed stewardship at St. Patrick. Here, I would like to share with you my recollection of a small portion of Fr. Golka’s presentation, focusing on his comments regarding the mission of a parish.
What is the goal of a parish?
Oftentimes, I hear the goals should be to make the most beautiful worship space we can, to renovate it if necessary, to decorate it, to put on as many programs as we can to get as many people to come as we can, to put on some dinners so we can eat together, to invite our friends to consider joining us and become a part of our group, and then if we fill this space with a lot of people, more money will come and we can then call ourselves a success.
I don’t know if you agree, but what I just described is more in line with the goals of a country club rather than that of a parish.
I believe a parish should be different than that. A parish should be an arena where a group of believers gathers together to take on the attitude of Christ, and put it into practice in our lives.
When we begin to do that, we’re going to pray differently together. We’re going to share meals differently together. We’re going to greet each other in a different way because now instead of just trying to do things to get new members, we’re trying to be Jesus Christ to one another.
The more that we can establish this attitude of stewardship throughout the parish, the more we can better fulfill what the true goal of our parish should be