St. Stephen Cathedral Mass
Blessed Sacrament Chapel Mass
Published on November 8th, 2013
What does it mean to be a DISCIPLE? A word of thanks to all parishioners who are actively involved in the various ministries in St. Stephen Cathedral Parish and to those who sacrificially and regularly contribute their tithes. A true disciple is also a steward, somebody’s manager. Actually, we are all stewards of God because, as Psalm 24 reminds us, God is the sole owner of everything we have: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” And again, in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
There are three areas of stewardship: time, talent, and treasure. Accepting the biblical model of returning 10% of the “first fruits” to the Lord, we attempt to utilize at least 10% of our time for prayer, reflection, and works of mercy and ministry.
Why should I be a steward in my parish and local community? Firstly, it is an act of thanksgiving to God who continues to bless us with time, skills, gifts, health, and wealth. Just as Jesus generously gave Himself to us, we are called to give of ourselves for others. Faithful stewardship in St. Stephen Parish and community is a way to help others because, by creation we are all God’s children and, by baptism we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior.
I can also assure you, from personal experience, that stewardship is a source and means of many blessings! “Give, and gifts will be given to you, a good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, will be poured into your lap” (Lk. 6:38). When we give and give cheerfully, for the right reasons, it will come back to us abundantly in many ways. To give the first fruits of what we have of time, talent, and treasure is liberating. It’s freeing.
According to our Finance Committee, our budget is $1,031,166 for this fiscal year. This means that our parish needs to average $19,830 per week. This does not include several unbudgeted items: parking lot paving and striping: $27,837, church air-conditioner: $16,375, office air-conditioner: $4,268, rectory air-conditioner: $2,797, elevator entry and handicap door: $6,925. These necessary expenses amounted to approximately $58,000! (Special thanks to several individuals/families who have given extra to these unforeseen housekeeping expenses). With all this in mind, at the end of our first quarter (September 30, 2013), our parish was only $28,549.92 in the red for our annual operational budget. Together, with each one doing his/her part we can handle this! Beginning with our baptismal call and strengthened by the Church and her Sacraments, stewards become followers of Jesus in a personal, concrete way.
Furthermore, I want to give you the whole picture. We owe $702,418.75 on our Renovation and Restoration, all of which has been borrowed and now needs to be repaid ($100,000 was loaned to us by a generous donor without interest for five years). So $602,418.75 is to be paid back to the diocese with interest; and beginning this month our payment is $11,230.90 each month for the next five years. We have a beautiful, beautiful church building! Now it’s time for the Church, the People of God, to pay for it! And together, we can! My understanding is that Fr. John Vaughan and the Capital Campaign Committee asked parishioners to continue their pledge/giving to the Church Renovation and Restoration which is over and above your regular Sunday tithing to the operational budget.
Furthermore (and this is the last “furthermore”!), our “fair share” to the Diocesan Capital Campaign is $437,785, of which $67,276.27 has been paid. Actually, because the Cathedral renovation was part of that campaign, this should be a wash, i.e., the Diocese will give us about this amount and we, in turn, will give it back to them! Alleluia!
Therefore, at this time of the year, a time of true thanksgiving, I ask every family to prayerfully consider God’s blessings as you commit yourself faithfully to giving back of your time, talent, and treasure. Please fill out the stewardship papers and return them to the parish next weekend. Think about it. Talk about it. Pray about it.
In Joy and Hope,