The term “stewardship journey” has become quite in vogue over the past 10 years. However, it is a very accurate way to look at stewardship as a total way of life. For us as individuals and for our families, the stewardship way of life is absolutely ongoing — that is, it involves unending conversion and continued dedication and commitment. Jesus never said that living as His disciple would be easy. In fact, He tended to emphasize the opposite — pointing out the challenges and obstacles to being a good steward.
It is no different for a parish — for a faith community. Too often, we may view stewardship as something we renew once a year, something on which we focus only at a particular time of year or a few times a year. Nevertheless, just as individuals must constantly renew and go through conversion, so must faith families — our parishes.
To be successful at stewardship, Catholic parishes must present stewardship as a concept and a way of life constantly — through homilies and prayers and bulletins and newsletters and the utilization of the “language of stewardship.”
What do we mean by the “language of stewardship?” Note the difference in these two announcements:
- “We want to thank all the volunteers who worked at the festival last weekend.”
- “Thank you to the good stewards who gave of their time and talent last weekend to make our festival a success.”
Yes, they say the same thing, but the second focuses on the stewardship of those who were involved.
Parishes and their leaders need to always look through the prism of stewardship and to assure that everything they write, say, and do points to stewardship as the basis and motivation. Stewardship and its true meaning as a way of life needs to be reinforced every day, every week; not just at certain other times.