The late Msgr. Thomas McGread regularly preached about the importance of being hospitable and discovering the needs of parishioners. He felt that when parishioners were welcomed and their needs were met, they felt fulfilled and had a sense of belonging to their parish.
Msgr. McGread’s approach creates ownership. Once parishioners feel like they are part of the parish, they want to respond by helping out, volunteering, and sharing their time, talent, and treasure, to make the best parish community possible. And, when parishioners support their parish with all of their resources out of gratitude, the entire parish flourishes. Prayer increases, ministries grow, and yes, the offertory increases. These blessings are natural outcomes of living a stewardship way of life.
Likewise, in the recent study, Unleashing Catholic Generosity: Explaining the Catholic Giving Gap in the United States, the University of Notre Dame Institute for Church Life reported the same findings that Msgr. McGread uncovered at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wichita, and what we at Catholic Stewardship Consultants have experienced over the years in working with parishes across the country. Our successful parish clients have found that when parishioners understand the importance of taking “ownership” in their parishes, they are more likely to give generously and truly understand their calling to live as good stewards of all of their resources.