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: 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.
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.
Catholics are noted for their good sense of humor as it concerns some of the cultural experiences we have in the Church, especially in our Catholic schools and elsewhere. A sense of humor will go a long way in helping us to live ulcer-free lives.
However, sometimes, when fun is poked at our most sacred symbols, we should take pause before we smile or laugh. Several years ago, a so-called artist placed a crucifix in a jar of urine and did so in an artsy way. Many said this was art and above reproach and that Catholics and other Christians who were offended should get a life.
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…]
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?
Msgr. Thomas McGread, the former Pastor at St. Francis of Assisi in Wichita, Kan., and the Director Emeritus of Stewardship for the Diocese of Wichita, is often referred to as the “Father of Catholic Stewardship.” In this recent Question and Answer session we conducted with the renowned stewardship pioneer, Monsignor offers his insights on how parish leaders charged with the great task of forming disciples can accomplish their goals by making Christ the center of all they do.
Msgr. Thomas McGread is a renowned stewardship pioneer. Beginning in the 1960s, Msgr McGread 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, which adopted his terminology and theological vision. For him, stewardship is a biblically-based principle that begins with conversion of heart and translates into a lifestyle of service.
The Catholic Steward sat down with Msgr. McGread to discuss his personal experience. During the conversation, Msgr. McGread shared his personal journey with us as well as how and why he implemented the stewardship way of life at St. Francis of Assisi. You will find that Monsignor offers tremendous insight and encouragement for all parish leaders who are charged with the great task of forming Christ’s disciples. [Read more…]
Welcome to The Catholic Steward. As a service to Catholic parishes everywhere, we have created this blog to assist in sharing best practices around developing Stewardship within parishes. Here you will hear from individuals who have worked on implementing stewardship within their own parish and diocese. These individuals bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience. [Read more…]