Dear Members of St. Joseph and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parishes,
If your calendar looks like mine, we all know everything is shifting back into high gear this month. Vacations are over. Schools are back in session. Clubs, organizations, and ministries are back at work full-time. Life is suddenly more hectic. As I looked at the calendar for September, I remembered some of the important feast days coming up this month and noticed several connections to living stewardship as a way of life.
First, the Feast Day of St. Teresa of Calcutta on Sept. 5. Small in stature, but so very Catholic in everything she represented and did, Mother Teresa was an important part of my perception of what it meant to be Catholic and Christian. It is difficult to believe that she has been gone for 26 years. She was the absolute epitome of what it meant to be Catholic, to love, and to serve. She represented a living example of stewardship in our lifetimes. What she had to say about our lives and how we should live them became some of the more quotable illustrations of living stewardship that we reflect upon today. For example, she said, “It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” That is our challenge as we begin the busy part of our year, to do everything we do with love.
Then, on Sept. 14, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Cross has enormous meaning to us as Catholics. How many times do we make the Sign of the Cross to signify the Holy Trinity and to remember that the Cross represents so much to us? It is a renewal of our Baptism every time we make the Sign of the Cross. More than 1,700 years ago, St. Helen discovered the true cross in Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was built on that spot, and it was dedicated on Sept. 14, 335, thus our veneration of the Cross on that date.
When we make the Sign of the Cross, we are also indicating our discipleship, our pledge to be good stewards. Whether it is in our labors that we glorify God, in serving the Lord and others with love or constantly reminding ourselves of Christ’s salvation of us on the Cross, we need to constantly rededicate ourselves to service and stewardship. This month – when we revive so much in our parishes — is a good time to do that. St. Teresa of Calcutta also said, “The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
Gratefully in Christ,
Fr. Timothy J. O’Connor,