Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2006
Stewardship transforms parishes
Parishioners show greater willingness to participate
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"We've built some really effective cornerstone blocks for stewardship in our parish."
Numbers are up with regards to involvement and special celebrations but "we haven't looked into how stewardship has impacted the parish's treasure and we are not even thinking of doing it," Heck said. "When we come to the point where we accept that everything we have is a gift from God, that's when you will see the generosity of people begin to flow."
The council is currently looking into how stewardship has impacted the parish spiritually and taking steps to reach out to everyone in the parish.
"OLPH is a large parish and our stewardship council is saying there is a need for us to begin to engage in some processes that will draw people to reflect deeply about the spirituality of stewardship," Heck said. The parish will soon start offering formation sessions on stewardship for all parishioners "so that they better understand and appreciate what this journey is about."
St. Alphonsus Parish officially embarked on stewardship in September and it started out with a bang, producing a large scroll declaring September stewardship month.
"We put up huge stewardship signs and we put 18 little posters around the church and Father (Patrick Baska) invited everybody to make a little pilgrimage and go around and read all the little posters," an excited Winton said in an interview.
The posters said things like: Stewardship is the sharing of your time, talent and treasure with God and the people. On two Sundays in September lay people explained what stewardship meant to them.
The parish even has its own stewardship mascot, Stu, who was created by a parishioner following a contest. As explained by Winton, Stu is like a big flame of fire with the steward hands and the heart of the church in the centre.
Moreover, on the last Sunday of September the eight-member stewardship committee did a skit on stewardship indicating the various types of stewards in the Church and how important their work is.
Since then the parish has had witnessing every month, with people coming up to the pulpit during Mass and talking about their experience in parish ministry.
The parish also held a stewardship appreciation banquet in February where the stewardship committee recognized all the parish stewards and gave them stewardship pins.
"We haven't been at it very long but I think stewardship is beginning to transform our parish," said Paul Winton, Cecilia's husband and a member of the stewardship committee.
"I think that there is a more open climate in the parish now and I think people are a little bit more willing to contribute than they were before stewardship started."
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