Previously, a member of the Parish Finance Council gave the Annual Financial Report – and even warned you I was speaking about the Offertory Collection this weekend at all the masses.
In four bullet points:
1. St. Jospahat Parish is not receiving enough in contributions to pay all our bills - let alone our parish debt – or even most of the interest on that debt. So we keep digging a deeper hole.
2. Although I know we would all like to believe otherwise, there is no other source of money than you and me. We’re it! No gold in the basement, no secret benefactor – there is no one else to look to to solve our problems – just us!
3. It’s all about priorities – what is important. Lots of people tell me how important St. Josaphat is to them. But many of those people treat it as a one-way relationship. They come to get, not to give. It just won’t work if it is a one-way relationship. It has to have mutuality.
4. I have been asked often – “How much should I give?” Let me assure you, as a pastor, there is no question I am more tempted to answer. But I never do. Instead, I thought it might be helpful if I tell you what I have found works for me.
Tithe your total household income.
In the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament, we understand tithing to mean 10% of your total annual income. (Although you may not think I am very traditional, on this I am. I tithe 10% of my total annual income every year – half of that goes to my parish, St. Jospahat, and half goes to other charities I like to support.) I’m guessing that’s not going to happen for most people. But maybe it’s a good goal?
So what I want to ask you to do is to pick your own percentage. Each household figure out what percentage they are willing to give to charity. You select what works for you. 4%? – you get to keep 96% for yourself. 1%? – you get to keep 99% for yourself. 7%? – you get to keep 93% for yourself.
Pick a percentage. Then half of that goes to your parish – St. Josaphat. And half to other charities of your choice.
If your household income is, say $100,000, and you select 5% -- you are going to be giving $5000 to charities -- $2,500 to your parish – St. Josaphat, and $2,500 to other charities. You do whatever you want with the other $95,000. Let’s say you select 1%. You are going to be giving $1,000 to charities -- $500 to your parish, St. Jospahat, and $500 to other charities. You get to do whatever you want with the other $99,000.
You and you alone know your income.
And only you and God know if you are being generous of if you are being selfish.
There is a “Stewardship ‘Treasure’ card” in your pews today. Please fill it out now and place it in the collection, or hand it to me, or take it home and fill it out and return it. But whenever you fill it out, DECIDE – just you and your household and God – what’s fair for the parish – half of 10%? or half of 5%? or half of 2%?
Whatever it is SELECT AND COMMIT to that. And then make the weekly or monthly contribution, or whatever schedule works for you.
Don’t let your gift back to God be something you give with the loose change in your pockets from Starbucks, or the loose change in the bottom of your purse. Wouldn’t that say something really nasty about what we think of God?
Finally, please consider using GiveCentral for your parish contributions. Our electronic giving tool is fast and convenient for you, and it makes planning and budgeting easier for the parish.
The Parish Office is available to help you with any GiveCentral questions. You can call for assistance with or to sign up for GiveCentral.
In all our Stewardship – our time and our talent and our treasure – let us remember the commandment in today’s gospel, “Love God with all your mind and all your heart and all your soul. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
Let’s be sure we are using our God-given gifts for what we say is truly important to us.
Thank you for reading.
Fr. Rich Prendergast
Stewardship is faithfully using whatever God gives us (opportunities, interests, skills, employment, family, talents, spiritual gifts, land, money, etc.) for His glory. There are many ways you can use your time, talent and treasure! Here are a few ways your help is needed and greatly appreciated:
• We have many volunteer opportunities whether it be a part of a regular ministry or one of our many events. For a complete list, see the Get Involved page.
• Automated giving is now available at GiveCentral.org! Donations can be transferred from your checking or savings account, or by using your credit card. Click here to set up your account today.
• If you shop on-line, St. Josaphat School will benefit from your purchase if you link to the vendor through Schoolpop.com.
• Ongoing fundraising is done through the school and can be found on the school fundraiser page.