Much of our current day understanding and practice of living a “stewardship way of life” was developed by renowned stewardship pioneer Msgr. Thomas McGread. In light of that, I decided to write a book that we have recently published. The title is Grateful and Giving: How Msgr. Thomas McGread’s Stewardship Message Has Impacted Catholic Parishes Throughout the Country.
In the book, you will read the story of Msgr. McGread and how he developed the stewardship way of life in the parishes he pastored, most notably St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita, Kansas. You will also read the stories of individuals and parishes throughout the country that have been profoundly impacted by living the Stewardship way of life.
The book is available as a paperback as well as a Kindle download by following this link to the book page at www.amazon.com. And, for a short period of time, the Kindle edition is available for only $.99. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested.
It is my prayer that this book allows many more people and parishes throughout the world to recognize the great blessing of living stewardship as a way of life. I also hope this book encourages bishops, priests, deacons, and lay leaders to more fully develop Stewardship in their parishes.
To give you a sense of what you will receive by reading the book, I have included here the brief foreword for the book by Bishop Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Wichita.
Foreword by Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of Wichita
Prime among the many gifts that come with being created in God’s image and likeness is the capacity ‘to give’ and ‘to receive.’
Stewardship helps us to discover our vocation and live it, identify our personal dignity, and respect it, recognize God’s prompting and embrace it. Moreover, it “helps to rouse one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). Everyone, regardless of circumstances, has something to give to others and is in need of receiving from others for the glory of God and the salvation of the human family.
The word “stewardship” may be new to some, but the living of it is as old as the creation of Adam and Eve. It was not, could not be, lost by original sin. How could God not always desire the beauty of giving what we have received and receiving of what others have been given? Stewardship, then, is not a mere human invention, nor a mere human message, nor, yet, a mere human witness. Jesus is always present, drawing us more nearly, more dearly, and more clearly into the mutual reciprocal and interdependent relationships which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit enjoy without beginning or end.
This eternal joy “to the full” is the destiny of every person without exception. While on our pilgrim way, stewardship, embraced as a way of life, increases our awareness of how God is drawing us to Himself and how He is making life-giving connections with others. The greater the awareness, the greater the marvel; the greater the marvel, the greater the gratitude.
Many times in His preaching Jesus proclaimed and witnessed to the imperative of being a worthy steward of our time, talent, and gifts, not as slaves, but as friends (Jn. 15). At the Last Supper, Jesus gave the apostles, and all of us, a powerful example when He lovingly stooped to wash their feet. Then He said: “Do you understand what I have done for you? … If I, Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet” (Jn. 13:13-14). We do well to keep our eyes fixed on Him and to receive His look of love, even to fervently pray for it.
The “timing” for today’s Stewardship came in the wake of the Second Vatican Council’s universal call to holiness. It is a call that is necessary in order to build a civilization of love in a secularized society guided by unhealthy individualism.
The Stewardship way of life model that Msgr. Thomas McGread developed is not the only one, but it is clearly the most enduring and proven one. It is one that many parishes across the Church in the United States have found practical, adaptable and viable, keeping the essential elements intact, of course. It is a proven model on which we in the Diocese of Wichita were able to draw when our 1985 Diocesan Pastoral Plan called for the launching of United Catholic Stewardship as a priority for our parishes, schools, and institutions.
You will discover practical, personal, and essential elements of the universal call to holiness in this work by Deacon Don McArdle paying tribute to Msgr. McGread. From my perspective, Msgr. McGread is an instrument of the Lord in developing a model of living biblical Stewardship in our era.
This book is a tribute, not only to Msgr. McGread, but also to the many lay people who worked so closely with him, giving generously of their time, talent, and daily experience of living Stewardship. With the passage of time, this number of nameless lay people working with other pastors and bishops has ballooned to countless persons living life closer to the Lord and the Church with grateful hearts.
I pray that God the Father will grace the words of this work as you reflect on its content and that the Holy Spirit will increase your awareness of the Lord’s loving presence with you as you “place your gifts at the service of others” (1Pt. 4:10) and in return experience the satisfaction of receiving more than you give.