In the Footsteps of Pope Francis

About a month ago, seven members of our parish Stewardship Team traveled to Chicago to absorb all they could about Stewardship as a Way of Life at the 53rd annual International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) Conference. The theme was “In the Footsteps of Pope Francis” and it followed on the heels of the Pontiff’s historic visit to the United States.

Like many, I was impacted by actions and comments of the Holy Father. There is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit was holding him up as he invested so much of his time and energy in us. Many of us want to walk in his footsteps because he walks with Jesus.

To me one of the most memorable statements was one given to Congress. Pope Francis said: When you dream dreams for your own children, dream them for other children as well. What an incredible request so lovingly and authentically spoken. Through the secular ear, we heard “do what is right for all the people in your care.” From the faith perspective, we heard love at a level that transcends something that is self-centered and finite.

When you consider it through the lens of stewardship, you can hear Jesus saying “stay close to me, be grateful for your abundance, nurture your gifts and dream big, but remember they are not just for you.

Share your abundance and help me to build the joy that is my kingdom.”

I believe this is one of the foundational blessings of living a stewardship way of life. As ministerial leaders—even if you don’t have a formal role in a parish ministry, we are all ministerial leaders—have the opportunity to understand, live and share the Gospel in such a way that goes beyond setting goals and checking things off our bucket list. When people of faith dream dreams, we dream with God and the fruit of the dreaming becomes so much more than we could have ever imagined.

As ministerial leaders, we are all called to evangelize. We all lead by example every day by acting on the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Don’t be afraid to live your faith out loud. Live it proudly. Don’t make people wonder if you are a Catholic. Make them want to be part of something so wonderful.

Live gratefully for the many blessings God has bestowed on you and your family. Take a few minutes on Thursday before you pick up your forks to say a heartfelt Prayer of Thanksgiving.
(You can never say Thank You too often.) May God bless you as you continue on your faith journey.

There are still copies of “The Words of Pope Francis” that was compiled by Patty Mann. They are available for $3 in the parish office.