Our Annual Stewardship Renewal

Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  I love that the air is cooler and less humid, the trees are at their most glorious colors and apples are ready to be picked.  I also love that everything seems to get back into a routine.  The daily activities have a certain flow and rhythm to them. There is a sense of normalcy, a set pattern to our days.

Here at the parish the summer routine is substantially different from the rest of the year.  There are a few staff members who have the summer months off from work, some work reduced hours and of course the occasional vacation.  Mass attendance is down in the summer, most groups discontinue meeting, councils take a few months off and many of the social activities come to a halt.  Some days the office seems like a ghost-town!

Beginning in September though all the activities start up again.  Many groups such as Women’s Bible Study, Divine Mercy Cenacle, Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils are back to meeting on a regular basis.  Religious Education classes are ready to start, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Confirmation, and hospitality all make their appearances again on Sunday mornings.  Mass attendance is back up, the choir is rehearsing and the office is once again humming with activity.

Experiencing so much activity and having so many people around the church campus brings a certain amount of joy and excitement.  Knowing that people are involved in their church and in their faith and are giving of their time speaks volumes about the type of people we are.  We are a giving, growing, vibrant community of believers and followers of the Lord.

This weekend we held our annual Ministry Fair in the Heritage Center.  This year I had the opportunity to coordinate the fair as Sara Rogers was on maternity leave.  As I was pulling out the seemingly endless banners and posters of our ministry groups I was amazed at how much we have going on around the parish.  We have activities and volunteer opportunities to satisfy almost every interest.

If you took the opportunity to walk around the Heritage Center you would have found there were ministries for all age groups.  There were the volunteers to bring food to new parents, Mom’s Club for those with small children, classes and activities for elementary age children, Week of Hope and Workcamp for teens.  We offered faith and prayer groups, social activities, volunteering opportunities to help those in the parish as well as for the greater community, country and even different parts of the world.  We offer individuals the chance to visit the homebound, exercise with the elderly and provide works of mercy for those going through a loss.  There are chances to participate in the liturgy by singing in the choir, being and altar server, usher or even decorating the church and keeping the plants alive to name just a few.

We were also fortunate to hear from Jen and Pat Silgen as they spoke to us about what stewardship means to them and their family.  The Silgen family has been involved in many areas of the parish over the years from singing in the choir, serving on the finance council and most recently being very active in the planning of the fall festival (which is next week already!).  They have four children, all at Faithful Shepherd and their oldest son is now an alter server.  This is a family who really believes and participates in the parish and the concept of giving in appreciation to the Lord.

This weekend was the first in a series of three weekends when we will discuss stewardship and what it means to each of us.  In the coming week all families will receive a letter from the stewardship committee, their giving statement through August, a stewardship commitment form and a return envelope.  We are asking each individual to spend some time to assess the gifts that they have received from God and then determine how they can give back to Him in thanksgiving for these gifts.  We can give to God through our time in prayer, sharing our talents with others in parish ministry and allocating some of our financial resources to the church.

The stewardship committee is asking each family to complete the commitment form and return it to the parish in the enclosed envelope.  All replies may be dropped off in the Sunday collection or mailed to the parish office.  Your prompt reply is greatly appreciated and will help eliminate some of the time spent following up with non-responding families.

Don’t forget that next weekend is our Fall Festival.  There will be one Mass at 10am.  Immediately following Mass join the rest of the parish for kids games, a pork loin dinner, a silent auction (we have a preview of all items on display this weekend), closest to the pin contest, bingo and much more.  The festival is an excellent example of parishioners donating their time and talents to the parish.  It takes many, many volunteers to make this a successful event and each one is greatly appreciated!

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