There have been, however, careful studies of how people in the U.S, actually use the 10,080 minutes that make up a week. Here are some of the findings:
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a five-part series by Msgr. Jim Costigan on The Pillars of Parish Stewardship.
In the fourth installment in my series on The Pillars of Parish Stewardship — the 2004 document published by the stewardship office of the Diocese of Wichita — we take an in-depth look at the third pillar: prayer.
Along with the Four Pillars of Stewardship, we also make constant reference to the three Ts of stewardship, recognizing that to truly live as a stewardship people we must give God the first fruits of our Time, our Talent, and our Treasure. It is easy for us to see the concrete reality of the latter two. To give God our Talents, we must first recognize with what talents He has blessed us, and then use those talents for His greater glory. On the same token, our money is something concrete, and when we recognize it as a gift from God, we are to give a certain amount back to Him. For many of us, it is easy to understand what it means to give God our talent and our treasure. But what does it mean to give God a portion of our time? This idea is much harder to grasp, and, yet, giving to God the first fruits of our time is just as important as the other two. In fact, if we understand and implement it properly, our stewardship of time will serve as the very foundation from which our stewardship of talent and stewardship of treasure bear fruit.
Editor’s note: Msgr. Thomas McGread is a renowned stewardship pioneer who built St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita, Kansas, into one of the most vibrant parishes in the country by teaching parishioners how to use their personal gifts. Msgr. McGread, now the Director Emeritus of Stewardship for the Diocese of Wichita, was influential in drafting the U.S. Bishop’s pastoral letter: Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response.
The latest post by Msgr. McGread was originally written by Chuck Swindoll, a protestant pastor and author.
July 18, 2010 — Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stewardship includes sharing with others the gifts God has entrusted to us, the U.S. bishops remind us in Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response. In response to what God has shared with us, we in turn share with those around us, both old familiar friends and neighbors and with those new to us. God invites all people into his Church, the People of God. As his disciples, we ought to follow his example and carry out his will – thus we have the responsibility to welcome all people into the fellowship of the Church.
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a five-part series by Msgr. Jim Costigan on The Pillars of Parish Stewardship.
“Jesus not only calls people to him but also forms them and sends them out in his service.” — From Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response
For my latest in this series on The Pillars of Parish Stewardship, we take a closer look at the second pillar: formation. Formation is the process of studying Christ’s teachings and incorporating them deeply into our lives. It is a lifelong effort by which we “put on Christ” (Rom 13:14) and are “transformed by the renewal of our minds” (Rom 12:2).
“There’s no vacation from vocation.” That was the pithy saying, uttered by the spiritual director, that we took home with us for summer vacation from the high school seminary. Our diocese closed the high school seminary in the early 1970s as times changed and the numbers of high school seminarians decreased. The thought remains the same. There is no vacation from our vocation to follow Christ in a life committed to stewardship of God’s abundant gifts to us.
When your parish conducts your annual stewardship renewal, it is important to do so in a proper manner. The renewal is a big part of your year, as it offers your entire parish a great opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and re-commit yourselves as Christ’s disciples. However, it is important to carefully conduct the renewal so as to truly encourage your fellow parishioners to make a commitment to Christ. Therefore, you need to be cautious of some common mistakes that will, inevitably, hinder the success of your renewal.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a five-part series by Msgr. Jim Costigan on The Pillars of Parish Stewardship.
From the standpoint of a Christian worldview, hospitality can be referred to as Christian kindness.
In terms of stewardship, hospitality is an immensely important concept. Remember the “three Ts” of stewardship: time, talent and treasure? Well, there are also “four Ps,” the four pillars of stewardship – hospitality, prayer, formation and service. Interestingly enough, hospitality is mentioned first. Why? Because without hospitality, none of the other pillars will ever take hold.
Hospitality is the cornerstone of stewardship, because it opens the door to a person’s heart and allows them to receive joy, grace and love.
One of the hallmarks of a Stewardship Parish is having the parishioners take ownership of the parish and feel a sense of responsibility for all its activities, including its finances. In this regard it is important to promote openness in all financial dealings so that parishioners have a real sense of what is going on in the parish, what its financial needs and responsibilities are.
Based on the parish surveys we at Catholic Stewardship Consultants, Inc. (CSC) have conducted in Catholic parishes over the past 12-plus years, most parishioners do not have a good understanding of where their parish is financially. Quite often parishioners think their parish is far better off financially than it actually is. In fact, in many cases we have seen situations where a particular parish is in deep financial trouble, and most parishioners’ responses indicate that they think their parish is doing just fine financially or even generating a surplus. On the other hand, we’ve found cases when a parish has an adequate income, but many parishioners think the doors are about to be closed.
How does this disconnect happen so that parishioners think the parish is well off financially when in fact the opposite is true? Or that they think the parish is worse off than it actually is? Well, oftentimes, they have not been given enough accurate information in an understandable format by the parish leadership to know the parish’s financial situation. Granted, in other cases, the parishioners are at fault – they have been given enough information, but they have not taken the time to understand what is going on. [Read more…]
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg, Va., was the destination of a retreat I facilitated in January 2010. The parish has 4,100 families and is located in one of the most historical areas of our country. The local residents take great delight in naming those who once lived there, and talking about what events happened that played a pivotal role in shaping much of our nation. As I listened, I couldn’t help but think about my home state of North Dakota and its beginnings as a “territory,” then as “state,” and the humble beginnings of our “Catholic heritage.”
The thoughts are appropriate, since here in the Diocese of Bismarck, we are about to kick off the celebration of our centennial as a diocese and recalling and appreciating the “characters” who shaped us, planting the “seeds” of citizenship” and, more importantly, our faith. The event will take place in Bismarck on June 11, 12, and 13. It offers us here in North Dakota, including here at my parish, St. John the Apostle in Minot, the opportunity to celebrate our history, while “beginning a new chapter” for ourselves and those that follow us.
A few years ago, the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life conducted its U.S. Religious Landscape Survey based on interviews with 35,000 Americans age 18 and older. The survey was designed to detail the religious affiliation of the American public.
For Catholics, the Pew Forum survey findings are cause for concern.
The results reveal that one-third of Americans who were raised in the Church no longer identify themselves as Catholic, which means that 10 percent of all Americans are former Catholics.
The overall percentage of Catholic Americans has dropped from 31 percent to 24 percent. According to the Pew Forum, this decline would be greater if Catholic immigrants were excluded from the findings.
Even more alarming is that more than one-quarter of American adults (28 percent) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion — or no religion at all.
The Catholic Steward finds the survey results to be of great concern.
As parish leaders, how can we address this apparent loss of faith sweeping our nation?