This past week everyone should have received their annual parish financial report. This report is an attempt to sum up, in just a few pages, all the financial activity of the past year, as well as the hope for the upcoming 12 months. It is always difficult to decide which information to include and how to present it, so that it is most informative and understandable for all parishioners. We hope we have achieved that in this report; however, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the office.

Each fall, parishes around the country are preparing for what is generally called Stewardship. Stewardship takes on a slightly different look at almost all churches, but generally, all contain a request for a pledge of financial support. Over the past few years, we have tried to bring attention to it as Time, Talent and Treasure. In our mailings over the past few years, we have included the opportunities to become involved in various ministries, the commitment to spending time in prayer, as well as the pledge to our annual operations budget. This year, we will break this up in order to emphasize that stewardship is not just a once a year commitment. We are to live it throughout the year. This fall, the focus will be on treasure. Following the winter holidays, we will accent talent, and our hope is to give opportunities to spend time in prayer throughout the year.

Stewardship is really about so much more than just donating our resources. It is our loving response to God our Father and the acceptance that all that we have is given through Him. It is an opportunity to express our desire to give out of love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” (John 3:16) Do we so love the Lord that we are willing to give back to him?

I’m sure we have all given gifts to another person, be it a child, spouse, parent or friend. It may have been for their birthday, Christmas, wedding or just because. Thinking about those times when you have given out of love, not because you were expected to, but because you wanted to, how did you feel? Were you joyful? Did the act of benevolence feel like an expression of love? Giving to God through time, talent and treasure because you love Him and have a relationship with Him should feel much the same.

The idea of giving your time, talent and treasure is often times counter cultural in society today. We live in a time of more, more, more. We never have enough time. We are pulled in too many directions. We have too many commitments. We need that bigger house or the newest phone; the need is to satisfy our own wants. We often believe that the success we have today is due only to our own hard work and efforts.

Where does our relationship with God fit into all of this? Do we return to Him the love He has given us? Do we even have a relationship with Him? These can be difficult questions to ask ourselves, and the answers may make us uneasy. Perhaps now is a time to look at our priorities and assess what is most important to us.

St. Peter’s recently changed its mission statement. It is on the front of every bulletin and reads, “St. Peter’s is here to bring the good news of the Gospel to all, so that every person can have a personal, life changing, life giving relationship with Jesus Christ.” On a very practical note, we need funds to provide programs and opportunities to share the Gospel, which will help us achieve that mission. That includes the expenses for the upkeep of the buildings and grounds, paying the staff, buying the supplies needed and providing an environment of trust and welcoming.

When you fill out your commitment card for 2017, please prayerfully keep in mind the fact that you are giving out of love to God, your Father. Be purposeful in your expression of this love. Make sure this is not a gift of expectation or of what is left over at the end of the month. On our end as your parish, we will treat and accept your gifts with the care and respect they deserve. We will be open to your needs, the needs of the community and do all that we can to share the good news of the Gospel.

May God Bless You.

Mary Jubenville

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