You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of those you love. This rationale is difficult for many of us to accept. Mothers and fathers routinely place the needs of their children before their own; soldiers at war often throw their own safety to the wind in the interest of protecting their fellow soldiers. The story of Jesus also focuses on giving to others. If Christ calls us to imitate Him – to become completely selfless – then it would seem that focusing on ourselves might counteract our efforts as Christians.
Nevertheless, as we enter into our annual Stewardship Renewal, Msgr. Terry Watanabe is asking us all to focus a bit more on ourselves. No, he’s not encouraging self-centeredness; he’s asking us to examine our own lives and determine the areas that are in need of growth. Before the stewardship way of life can totally transform our parish, it must begin in each of our hearts. As each individual’s spiritual life blossoms and grows, so will our parish as a whole. Will you plant the seed of stewardship in your own heart?
How do I use my Commitment Card?
Your commitment card allows you to make commitments to prayer, parish ministries, and offertory giving. It is designed to be used by the whole family.
Time Section: Except for the ill and homebound, everyone should be able to check “Come to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.” Try to check at least a few other items. Daily prayer should be a priority for every person trying to grow closer to God.
Talent Section: You can either sign up for new ministries or re-commit to your current ministries. Be sure to write your first name next to the ministry! This is especially important if the card is being used by more than one person.
Treasure Section: Clearly print how much money you plan to give each week or month to our parish. Try to take a step toward giving five of your income to St. Anthony of Padua.
Is your prayer life in need of a tune-up?
Honestly ask yourself, “How much time do I spend in prayer each week?” The answer is probably a bit embarrassing. Everyone wants to spend more time in prayer, but there’s just never enough time to do everything we want to do. Good intentions are just that: intentions. This year, as you’re discerning how you will offer your time to God, resolve to follow through with your commitments. Consider each moment you spend in prayer as nourishment for your soul. The spiritual health of our parish is only as strong as the sum of its parts (individual parishioners).
Is your level of parish involvement in need of a boost?
We give our talents back to God when we get involved in ministries at St. Anthony of Padua. And, with a host of ministries to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Sure, ministries give parishioners opportunities to serve others in the community, but they also benefit those in the ministry itself. Ask anyone who actively participates in a ministry at St. Anthony of Padua, “Why do you enjoy serving in this way?” They’ll probably say, “I get more out of the ministry than the people I serve.” This year, as you’re discerning how you will offer your talents to God, consider signing up for a ministry that may benefit you, like a Bible study, prayer group, or retreat. Or, contribute to an outreach ministry where your good deeds not only help others in the community but also give you feelings of satisfaction and thankfulness.
Do you give a percentage of your income to the offertory?
It may be hard to see offertory giving as a way to “help yourself,” but when we approach the subject from a spiritual viewpoint, it can lead to individual spiritual growth and an increase in faith. Even the savviest businessperson worries about his or her personal finances from time to time. Adding a weekly offertory check to the list of monthly bills may seem crazy but, ultimately, sacrificial giving forces us to cut unnecessary spending, create a budget, and have faith that God will help us make it through the month. All of these are good things for each of us, individually. After faithfully giving to the offertory for a few months, many Catholics find that it’s not only possible to give a weekly offering, but that the fruits of their gift far outweigh the expense.
At St. Anthony of Padua, we ask that you give 5% to our parish, 1% to the diocese, 1% to St. Anthony School, and 3% percent to other charities. Why a percentage of income? First, because the tithe (10 percent) is a scriptural benchmark that the Church has honored for centuries (see Malachi 3:10). Secondly, we give a percentage of income because it is a standard by which everyone can equitably support the parish. Most of all, we give because we believe God comes first in everything, even finances.
Commitment Weekend is February 24/25 Don’t forget to bring your Commitment Card to Mass!