Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 27, 2004
Use God's gifts to help others - Collins
Stewardship is more than fundraising
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
If we truly have the spirit of stewardship we will use God's gifts generously to serve others, says the archbishop of Edmonton.
"We can use our time in this life to be selfish or to be generous to others," Archbishop Thomas Collins says in his pastoral letter entitled Stewardship: "Well done, good and faithful servant," his third pastoral letter since he became archbishop in 1999.
Collins said he wrote the letter to help Catholics understand the principles of stewardship, a concept that the archdiocese decided to embrace more than two years ago.
"I think stewardship is very important in our lives as Christians and certainly as members of our archdiocese and I wanted to provide a letter that is short enough that it can be read fairly easily and yet complete enough that it will give directions in guidance on how we should enter into stewardship," he said.
"I thought it would be good to pull together some key ideas which might be useful to people in our own diocese to help them become involved in stewardship at a deep level," the archbishop said in a Dec. 21 interview.
The 6,600-word letter clarifies the meaning of stewardship, gives seven reasons why Catholics should embrace it and points the way forward. It also contains several reflection questions on stewardship.
"This is intended for use in our archdiocese by our regular parishioners and by any parishes that begin to enter into stewardship," he said. "I think we can sort of rush into it and that would not be a good idea.
"We need to build a strong foundation and a strong foundation is built by trying to understand the key guiding principles of stewardship which are really very deep within our whole lives as Christians - the idea of gratitude to God, the idea of being entrusted with our time, talent and treasure and then being expected to try to make use of that in the service of others and the glory of God."
The archbishop said the letter is meant to be "kind of a handy guide" on stewardship that provides a summary of its key principles. "I hope that by reading it people will get an understanding of stewardship. It is important that all of us have a common sense of what stewardship is."
Many lay people and parishes in the archdiocese are already engaged in stewardship so the concept is not new, Collins noted. However, stewardship is still misunderstood in many quarters. Some people see it simply as a code for tithing or fundraising.
"And so I thought it would be very important to have a broader vision, which would help us to see stewardship as really a way of having our own lives transformed," the archbishop said.
"In many ways I think that the introduction of stewardship into all of our parishes is the real way in which we can transform our parishes and our own lives so that we are better disciples, more faithful, more generous disciples."
Collins hopes that as people read and study his letter they will become good stewards of the gifts that God has given them becoming generous with their time, their talent and their treasure. "And I also hope that our communities will do the same."
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