This article was written for the monthly newsletter of the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) by Leisa Anslinger, author and co-founder of Catholic Strengths and Engagement Community (CSEC). Leisa has visited our parish on several occasions and is a trusted professional in Stewardship.
I have had the privilege this spring of guest-presenting during a pastoral leadership class at our diocesan seminary. The first three classes of the semester set the foundation for the remaining topics: the priest as pastor and leader; collaboration with the laity; the vision of the parish as the locus or center in which people are formed as disciples, stewards, and evangelizers. I am deeply appreciative of the commitment and genuine desire to lead well that the men, some of whom will be ordained very soon, have demonstrated. While I have not been with them for every class, I have witnessed their growing appreciation of the ways in which all the varied elements of parish life fit together.
Being with the seminarians has reminded me of the complex nature of parish life and how stewarding these elements has direct impact on the way people may or may not grow in faith. When we make adjustments in one aspect of the parish, it will affect other aspects. Hopefully, over time, the adjustments we make will result in deeper conformity to Christ, to holiness lived in daily life.
This calls for us to stay focused on the vision and good stewardship of the parish as the place where disciples are grown, where people are drawn to Christ, to live their faith in the daily lives, and to share their faith with others.
Good stewardship of a parish requires on-going attention to the spirituality of stewardship, not only at specific points of the year; it requires us to consider parish practices in light of the call to live and grow as stewards, to help our people make primary connections between Mass and their daily lives, to understand how stewardship is an authentic way to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, and to do all of this in the context of the community of faith.
In what ways is your parish the place where disciples who live as good stewards are grown?
During the last three years, we have made many efforts to provide our parishioners with tools to grow as good stewards and disciples.
These include praying the Stewardship Prayer as a Faith Community at every Sunday Mass, posing thoughts for Everyday Stewardship in the weekly bulletin (Barbie’s Corner) and offering the annual Covenant with God (which will be offered again on the weekend of September 10-11).