We Are Stewards of God's Mercy!
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Gospel about Zacchaeus is our inspiration this year for Stewardship Renewal. This ordinary man, a tax collector and sinner, wanted to see “who Jesus was” and climbs a sycamore tree. But it is Jesus who seeks Zacchaeus out and forgives him by inviting himself into his home. God’s mercy, unearned, comes first and works a miracle of transformation. Zacchaeus responds joyfully and generously to God’s mercy by repenting and offering mercy to those he has wronged.
The more we recognize God’s mercy, living and acting in our lives, the more we will come to know ourselves as disciples who are called to share mercy with others. Together let us consider our call to be good stewards of God’s mercy, within our families and among our friends, in our parish, and especially with those who most need to know God’s loving mercy through us.
Our annual Stewardship Renewal calls forth our unique gifts of time, talent and treasure. If you have not already done so, please spend some time in prayerful reflection before completing the pledge form available at the parish office.
Let us offer our pledges and our lives to the Lord who calls us to show mercy through a sincere gift of ourselves. May we ever renew our efforts to place mercy at the center of our faith.
Yours in infinite mercy of God,
Fr. Charles Ramirez and the OLA Stewardship Committee
Becoming Stewards of God's Mercy...
Be aware. Spend time each day prayerfully examining your life and the way in which you receive God’s mercy through sacraments and the care of others.
Be grateful. Growing in gratitude is not only the best response to God’s mercy, it is a key facet of growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Awareness of God’s grace grows as our lives are shaped by gratitude, changingour perspective and leading us to change how we understand and live out our lives.
Be merciful. Our hearts become lighter as we are touched by renewed awareness of God’s love in our lives. Sharing this with others is sure to impact their lives, rippling outwards in an ever-wider circle of love, mercy and compassion. (From Catholic Faith and Life)
What is Stewardship?
A life-long journey that brings us closer to Jesus Christ,
following the path he laid out for us through his example of self-giving
Understanding that everything we have is a gift from God
of which we are absolutely the best caretakers (stewards)
Having the heart to give back out of love a portion of
every gift that has been entrusted to us by God
Living our life with the understanding that someday God
will ask each one of us what we did with his varied gifts
A way of life with rewards that last an eternity
Good stewardship begins with our loving God. Everything that we have is a gift from God – our life and natural talents, our family and relationships, our health and energy, our emotions and ability to reason, our material goods. God has provided abundantly for all our needs. Jesus said: “I came that they might have life, and have it to the fullest” (John 10:10).
We are good stewards when we praise and thank the Lord for the many gifts we have been given. “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’ that would be enough” is a famous insight of Meister Eckhart (1260-1327). What a blessing it is when a gift is received in gratitude and used to the fullest! And the best way to show our gratitude is to cultivate those gifts and celebrate the best in us.
Scripture encourages us to trust in God’s providence and be assured that our own needs will be met if we are generous. In fact, we have been promised blessings of every kind – the “hundredfold” of the Gospel. We are taught to share our gifts with others as we live out the mission of Jesus in true discipleship. Together, as a community of faith, we collaborate with God in bringing about the Kingdom of hope and love, peace and justice, comfort and joy.
The Stewardship Committee
The OLA Stewardship Committee is seeking parishioners to promote the practice of Stewardship through year-round activities, education, emphasis in liturgy, and liaison with parish ministries and organizations. Prosepctive members should be baptized, practicing Catholics who are registered and active in the parish. They should also demonstrate a commitment to Stewardship with their generous contribution of time, talent and treasure, and be willing to witness to the Stewardship way of life. The committee also provides ongoing education and development in the understanding of Stewardship principles for its members.
Individuals with an interest in the following areas are encouraged to contact Deacon Jim Allgaier for more information about the Stewardship Committee.
Stewardship Education and Formation
This area includes preparation of the Annual Stewardship Renewal materials that are mailed to every parish household in November. Other related areas are leadership training and the cultivation of lay witness speakers. There is an opportunity to build new Stewardship programs for children and teens in our regular Faith Formation curriculum.
Ministry Recognition and Awareness
This area includes preparation of a Parish Ministry Handbook, the annual Parish Life Expo, and planning regular bulletin updates on ministry opportunities. Another area not yet implemented at OLA might be ministry recognition events.
This area includes the regular Stewardship articles in the parish bulletin and on the parish website, as well as the annual Stewardship report to the parish. Another possibility is building a roster for e-mail blasts to parishioners.
This is the area of assisting parishioners with the discernment of their individual gifts and following-up with parish ministries on new membership. There is an opportunity for using reports from our parish database to create a "time and talent" inventory.
Hospitality and Welcome
This area includes creating a Welcome Packet for newcomers to the parish, and sponsoring Welcome events. There an opportunity for setting up home visits to new families and "mentor families" to guide them.