Each fall we turn our attention to the ways in which we are following Jesus’ call to love and serve as individuals and as a Faith Community.  We remind ourselves of the covenant relationship we have with our God and no matter how far we may feel from God’s presence or what we may do to create distance between ourselves and God, we are never abandoned nor beyond God’s generous love.  God’s love never fails!  We at Saint Angela Merici have been celebrating the gracious love and over-flowing giftedness of our God expressed in the life of our community as we journey together to become a Stewardship Parish. As we have experienced, this road is not necessarily merely one of arriving at a destination as it is a process from one year to another, from one generation to the next as our parish ventures in a faith life of service and thanksgiving, reaching within our community and stretching beyond the boundaries of our parish to become a Stewardship People who express by our welcoming spirit, open heart and mind, and the sharing of our treasure, that God, and only God is the source of all that we have and will ever possess.

Stewardship as we have come to realize is a way of life!  It is about the way we perceive ourselves and how we understand and embrace community.  It transforms how “we do ministry.”  Stewardship is not so much about giving to a need; Stewardship is about our need to give because of the depth of God’s generosity and grace in our lives.  Stewardship is not just getting involved in a cause, it is response, it is a great desire within the fabric of our lives that creates a need to give.  Stewardship simply reminds us that we are to be …good and faithful stewards emerging from both our individual and corporate experience of God’s abounding grace that we experience in our lives.  Our Stewardship Renewal Bulletin presents to us a wonderful and grace-filled portrait of who we are as a Faith Community of Saint Angela Merici.  Our Mission Statement, our Three-Year Parish Plan based on our Parish Assemblies, the celebration of our Stewardship Ministry Faire, our Ministry Booklet, our Faith Testaments by those who have become aware of God’s handprint in their lives and have graciously shared their intimate journey with us as well as our Financial Statement, is a testimony of the great blessings we have received as a Faith Community.

Stewardship also invites us to offer our gifts back to God through our treasure: Our financial giving. It is crucial that we challenge ourselves to step up financial-giving to insure that what we have experienced during our Stewardship Renewal will continue to foster the mission and vision of our parish. We invite our parishioners to make a Weekly Stewardship Promise. We realize it is a difficult time in our economy, however, we also believe it is a time to witness that God will provide us with whatever we need if we are willing to give in trust of his faithfulness to his people. We ask that each family promise to give Twenty Dollars ($20.00) a week. For some however, twenty dollars may not be possible, so in the spirit of Stewardship, we are inviting every family to express their Weekly Twenty Dollar Stewardship in several ways. For example, we are hoping every one can share $20.00 a week, but if you cannot, but you are able to give $15.00 a week, then we ask you to pray the balance of $5.00 from the $20.00 in prayer! Perhaps you can see thirty minutes of prayer each day as worth $1.00, so you will also promise to pray thirty minutes for five days a week so your Stewardship to the community still fulfills the challenge of our renewal. Pray for our parish. Pray for the Church of Orange. Pray for the Church of Jesus Christ. Or maybe you can only share $10.00 a week. You might then review the eighty or more ministries of our parish and give $10.00 of your time, talents, and gifts by becoming involved in one of our ministries once a week and so fulfill your Stewardship Promise of Twenty Dollars by giving Ten Dollars of your treasure by offering your time and talent! You see, Stewardship is a way of life! It emerges from within the Body of Christ. This weekend we are asking our parishioners to make a Stewardship Promise. We believe God is asking everyone to promise $20.00 a week, but that can be expressed in a myriad of ways. We hope many of you will be able to share your treasure of Twenty Dollars a week with us so we can continue the work and mission that we fostered so well, but each of us must discern, pray, and reflect on what God is asking of us. Remember we are not giving to a need, but as a Stewardship People and a Stewardship Parish it is about the deep need to give as a faith-filled expression and acknowledgement of God’s graciousness and generosity. Our covenant with God is a covenant to one another. Each one of us is important to this faith community. Without you we are less than what we can be. Offer the gifts you have; share the blessings you have received. The Promise you make will be that sign, a witness, a testimony that you are growing as a steward and as a person made in the image of a giving God.

Fr. Michael-Dwight