Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 8, 2006
The first hour belongs to God
Priest says if you give the first hour of your weekly salary, God blesses the rest of the week
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Two things that you would be embarrassed to hear in church are the ringing of cell phones and the ringing of the collection basket."
- Fr. Darrin Gurr
In our offering a just portion of our earnings to God and in sharing them with others we acknowledge that God gave them to us to serve God's purposes, the priest said.
"Our monetary gift also helps to build a bridge and make the Church's mission our own."
Often at work we seem disconnected with our place of worship. "But when we place our offering in the basket each week, we are making a connection between how we earn our living and how our efforts and talents contribute to building up the Church of God," Gurr told the conference.
Because asking for 10 per cent of one's earnings seems threatening to some, Gurr has lately begun to ask them for one hour of their salary a week. He thinks it is a good idea because it makes people "part and parcel" of the building up of God's Church.
"If you put into the basket on Sunday the first hour of your week (of work), God will bless all the other hours of the week and continue to give you everything you need for the week ahead," he said.
At the new parish of St. Gianna in Winnipeg where Gurr became the founding pastor a few months ago, parishioners sign pledge cards committing themselves to give the first hour of salary every week.
Should every parishioner at the 350-family parish give one hour of their salary every week, the parish has the potential to raise $22,000 a week in the collection plate. Gurr urged parish representatives at the conference to do the math and see the potential in their parishes.
The other thing at St. Gianna is that they don't accept change in the collection plate. "We have a silent collection, which means no change," Gurr said to laughter from the audience. "And as I wrote in the parish bulletin, two things that you would be embarrassed to hear in church are the ringing of cell phones and the ringing of the collection basket.
"In the Sunday offering we must see something of ourselves go down the aisle and that can't be small change at the bottom of our pocket," he said.
"We must make a sacrificial giving in which we feel that we are offering our very selves up to God. It is the gift of our lives, the first fruits of our labours, the very best of what we have to offer, something that we are proud to give. It shows that we are so very grateful to have received it, and happy to give it back."
Generosity is for everybody and so everybody should give, including children, priests, religious as well as the poor and the struggling, stressed Gurr. Stewardship is proportional so everyone can give according to his or her earnings.
When we give to the Church, "we give something profound" and then we let it go, Gurr stressed. Sure, parishes need to be accountable and transparent in the use of our monies, but when we give at church, we give without strings attached. "It's up to the administration how that money is going to be spent."
As Gurr put it, passing the plate should be an important ritual and no singing should take place while it is being passed. At the end of the collection, the basket should be processed to the altar rather than being taken away by the usher for counting.
"You don't know how much people appreciate seeing this gift being offered to God."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.