STEWARDSHIP SAINT FOR APRIL
Saint Fidelis Sigmaringen Given the name Mark Rey at his birth in 1577, our stewardship saint for April grew up in Sigmaringen, a town located in present-day Germany. He was the son of the town’s affluent burgomeister (mayor) and studied law and philosophy at the renowned University of Freiburg. As a student, Mark made prayer a priority in his daily life. He also spent time visiting the sick. He embraced a humble, chaste and simple lifestyle. He earned a doctorate in canon and civil law, became a prominent lawyer and soon gained a reputation for representing those who had no money to pay. Mark was affectionately nicknamed “the poor man´s lawyer.” He was known to be extraordinarily generous, and committed himself to working with the poor. Dismayed by the greed and corruption he found among his counterparts in the legal profession and in the courts of law, Mark abandoned his law practice and entered the Capuchin religious community. He took the name Fidelis, which is Latin meaning “faithful.” He studied for the priesthood and after ordination, celebrated his first Mass in 1612 on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4). After his ordination, Father Fidelis was assigned to preaching and hearing confessions. It was reported that a large number of converts were accepted into the Church because of his zealous evangelizing efforts. He was devoted to Saint Francis of Assisi and revealed that devotion in his pastoral care of the poor and sick. During a severe epidemic in a city in which his friary was located, he cared for and cured many. In 1621 Father Fidelis was sent to begin missionary work in Switzerland, a territory that had experienced much bloodshed as a result of growing tensions among a number of religious movements of the expanding Reformed traditions. All of these movements were violently opposed to the Catholic faith at the time. His writings, preaching and pastoral ministry converted many in Switzerland to Catholicism. But many others, enraged by his missionary work, threatened his life. On April 24, 1622, while traveling on the road between preaching missions, Father Fidelis was attacked by a group of armed men, beaten and hacked to death. He was 44 years old. Fidelis once wrote: “It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.” He was canonized in 1746 and his feast day is April 24.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANNUAL PLEDGING
Why should we turn in the Time/Talent and Treasure forms? Turning in the Time/Talent and Treasure forms is a “Good Faith Habit”. It is demonstrating that God is important in our lives. How far down the list of importance do we place God?
Why do we pledge?
The pledge helps St. Regis plan for the coming year. The pledge helps determine if funds will be available to support the church, school and ministries for the coming year. Submitting a pledge is comparable your employer agreeing to pay your salary, or pension and the governments agreement to pay your social security.
How much should I pledge to St. Regis?
Plan to contribute a percentage of your annual income. We each can’t give the same amount, but we each can make the same sacrifice. The recommend amount is 5% of your gross income.
How do I determine the dollar amount based on a % of income? Determine what your gross income is (before any withholdings), then check the table on the back of your Annual Appeal card. Find the dollar amount closest to it and go across the line to the % you wish to give. For some, the same level of sacrifice is giving more than 5%.
What if my financial circumstances change during the year, if I lose my job or have a financial emergency?
Lives are not static. You can adjust your contributions accordingly.
With our current financial obligations, I don’t know how it would be possible for us to give a full 5%. Are there any other options? It is important to work towards this goal. You can begin by committing to an amount that is planned, proportionate and sacrificial. Most Catholics do not even know how much they give back. When they take the time to calculate that amount they are often surprised and discomforted. The first step in working towards the 5% goal is to determine what percentages you currently give. Then see if you can increase that percentage by at least ½ percent. If you increase your giving every year by at least ½ percent or more, you will eventually reach a full 5%.
When I decide to work towards 5%, should I be calculating it based on my gross or net income? When striving to give a full 5%, you should calculate the amount you give back to God based on your gross income. The reason for this is that stewardship calls us to give back to God first, before we take care of any of our own wants, needs or obligations – including our obligation to our government. After all, God should come before Uncle Sam, shouldn’t He? By placing God first – above all other financial obligations – we show how much we love and trust Him. Some people may never be able to reach a full 5%. Others reach that goal and give more, knowing that in reality it all belongs to God.
Is there a simple way to know if I am pledging the right amount without doing the math? Here is an easy formula for determining 5%.
- Take your pre-tax income.
- Round it to the nearest thousand.
- Then take off the last three zeros. For example, a person making $40,000 annually would take off the last three zeros and be left with $40.
- This is the amount you should give every week, if you are giving 5% back to God through your parish.
Going to 5% is such a huge step. How can I find the courage to commit to this way of life? It truly does take great faith. Simply place your trust in God. If you wait until you feel that you are financially comfortable you will never take the step. The commercialism of our society works to convince us that we never have enough. No matter how much we have, there is always something else we will want. If you are ever going to put your faith in God, you will have to step back from your endless list of wants and believe that our generous and abundant God will always provide you with all that you need and even with enough to give back a generous share.
What if I have a lot of debt and I am not able to pay my bills each month? There are legitimate exceptions such as a family living in poverty with very little money to take care of their basic needs. For some families debt may be the main factor. Some may have student loans or were laid off from work. Others may be living beyond their means and have credit card debt. People with these situations need help. St. Regis is planning to offer a program to help those suffering from debt. If you are interested in this type of program, please contact the Parish Office at 816-761-1608.
How do I sign up for Online Giving?
- Go to St. Regis website at www.stregischurch.com
- Clink on the Online Giving logo (Left side)
- Go to Create Account or Quick Give (Just below St. Regis name)
- Fill out the forms (To create an account you will need to setup a user name and password.)
“Then he said to the crowd, ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.’” - Luke 12:15
STEWARDSHIP OF TREASURE - OCTOBER 22, 107
The previous four weekends covered the St. Regis ministries through the 4 Pillars of Stewardship: HOSPITALTY, PRAYER, FORMATION AND SERVICE. Each weekend a portion of the 50+ ministries and councils were highlighted through one of the 4 pillars. These pillars form our church and parish community by our contributions of our Time and Talent. We also need to recognize the foundation for those pillars and ministries is our Treasure. Without your financial support our parish as well as our ministries would not exist.
This coming weekend, October 28-29 is Commitment Sunday. It is the one Sunday of the year that we annually commit back to God a portion of our Time Talent and Treasure. Not out of obligation and duty, but out of a sincere desire. We freely give back out of gratitude for the many blessings God has bestowed on us.
This past week you have received a letter from Sr. McCaffery along with a Time/Talent brochure and a Stewardship Appeal pledge card. Filling out and returning both of them are the first steps in showing your gratitude to God. If you have not been involved in a ministry this year, prayerfully consider selecting one that complements your talents, even if it is only prayer. Secondly, prayerfully consider a level of God’s treasure he has entrusted to you to give back to St. Regis. “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Many of our parishioners do not bother to fill out a pledge card but regularly put money in the basket. Unpledged funds collected each week do help to support the ongoing life of St. Regis. But, pledges are very important because they allow us to plan responsibly and to establish a parish budget for the coming year. Pledging responsibly, based on your best estimate of the year’s income, is important. And remember, a pledge can be adjusted – up or down! – during the year if your circumstances change.
Each family cannot make the same gift, but each family can make the same sacrifice. It starts with filling out and turning in a yellow pledge card. As you pray about the amount you commit, keep in mind our budget requires a significant surge in revenue this year and we are asking you to prayerfully consider a 5-10% increase in your stewardship giving. We also have a goal of at least 50 parishioners switching to Online Giving.
Remember, fill out and bring your Time/Talent brochure and your pledge card next weekend. God is never outdone in generosity.
“I believe in . . . and apostolic church.” We believe that we are continuing the living tradition of the Apostles. Part of that tradition includes works of service, apostolic works. Jesus said “I have come not to be served, but to serve.” We need to be ready to minister to varied needs of our own parish family as well as the needs of the wider community and Church. A stewardship parish family serves those who are hurting or in need; doubting or seeking salvation. Like a blood family, the parish family stands ready and eager collectively to wrap their arms around their brothers and sisters when they suffer in trial and/or celebrate special events in their lives. St. Paul says, “God so constructed the body, that there may be no dissension in the body, but that all the members may be concerned for one another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy.” (1 Cor. 12: 24b, 25-26)
Parishioners seek the parish family as a primary community to serve and to be served—to give and to receive. If a parishioner finds they can serve and be ministered to, they have little need to search elsewhere for this fulfillment. Likewise, they have recognized a place where their service is appreciated and utilized for the good of the Church.
But the members of a stewardship parish recognize that they also have a need to give beyond their own members only. They have a need to serve and to give in the diocese, the community and the Universal Church. Fully embracing and committing to this need leads a parish to the stewardship way of life within the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is the challenge to us parishioners. Are we willing to serve our own St. Regis parish and outsiders? Interestingly, if this true of our parish, chances also exist that St. Regis embraces fully the first pillar of a stewardship parish – namely, hospitality.
During next week’s Ministry Fair, you will find information for over 20 service ministries that need your time, talent and/or treasure. Service provides opportunities for us to put into concrete practice the other three pillars, hospitality, prayer and formation. A true stewardship parish practices all four of these pillars, with Jesus Christ as the model and the foundation from which the pillar arise.
Stop by the Gathering Space after the Masses next weekend to learn more about these ministries at our 4th and last Ministry Fair.
The 3rd Pillar of Stewardship: Formation
The third Pillar of the Stewardship Way of Life is Formation. Faith formation is a lifelong journey of conversion; a formidable task, involving education of the mind and the conversion of the heart for all ages. Ongoing education for children and adults is important if we are to grow in our lives as stewards – you never graduate from formation. The Evangelization and Parish Life Council (EPL) is the key organization at St. Regis that provides opportunities for parishioners to deepen their faith and knowledge through studies and presentations on scripture, Church teachings and other topics of interest. Opportunities are also provided for learning how to share one’s faith.
The goal of the EPL council and at least ten of our ministries is to educate, form and sustain the stewardship way of life for all ages through faith formation opportunities in the parish and school. We strive to be disciple stewards and give good example as we participate in parish life in ministries and on parish leadership teams. We are open to the continuous conversion to a life of stewardship – to sharing what one has with a loving, generous and grateful heart.
How important is it to properly form one’s faith and understand Christ’s teachings? Jesus explains to us in MT 13:19 that “The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.” It’s important to hear the Word, but equally important to understand it.
We are each given a role to play in building up God’s kingdom. We are each given gifts of time and talent by God to complete our mission. Do you know what your gifts are? If your gift is helping in our Formation ministries or you want to be better informed about your Catholic faith, then consider joining one of the following ministries:
The key ministries tied to Formation include; EPL, scripture study, Mary’s Room library, Catholic teachings/history presentations, special topical presentations, parish missions, the Immaculata Militia, RCIA, School of Religion, Book Club, Sacrament/Marriage Prep and Serra Club. Other groups such as Parish/School Development Councils and the Stewardship Council support the Formation Pillar by providing various funding opportunities to carry out the vision and mission.
Stop by the Gathering Space after the Masses next weekend to learn more about these ministries at our Third Ministry Fair.
2nd Pillar of Stewardship: Prayer
A stewardship parish strives to nourish the soul through prayer. Prayer is as necessary to our souls as food is to our bodies. Prayer and the sacraments dispose a soul to receive God’s abundant graces, which are necessary to grow in holiness. That is why the Second Pillar- Prayer is related to the Second Mark of the Church - Holy. Holiness is accomplished through liturgy and Sacraments (especially the Eucharist), the witness of saints and martyrs, the proclamation of Scripture, adherences to Sacred Tradition, teaching and preaching and much more. To grow in holiness is the ultimate desire of our prayer life.
Our journey towards holiness also requires a lifetime of daily conversion. Prayer helps us to see ourselves as God sees us and to see who God calls us to become. Without the desire for conversion to become faithful stewards, our spiritual blindness lead to selfishness and pride.
Through faithful lives of prayer, we grow in virtue. Our prayer takes deep root when we practice the theological virtues, (faith, hope and charity); the cardinal virtues, (prudence justice, temperance and fortitude); and seek to live the fruits of the Holy Spirt, (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). We grow in virtue when we pray. A steward is a person of virtue.
A deep sense of gratitude fills the heart of a steward. The steward understands that everything they are and have that is good comes from God. The recognition of the gifts received daily from God makes us consciously aware of God’s Presence among His People. Our desire to thank Good is His gift. As disciples, we are called to response by using these gifts of our time, talent and treasure. Gratitude in our heats cultivates our prayer.
Our Parish strives to make PRAYER a greater priority through the following Ministries and Councils: sacristans, Worship Council, Rosary & Adoration, Alter servers, Sacristans, Extraordinary ministers, Lectors, Music ministry, Children’s liturgy and Serra Club.
Stop by the Gather Space after the Masses next weekend to learn more about these ministries at our Second Ministry Fair.
1st Pillar of Stewardship: Hospitality
A stewardship parish is a welcoming parish regardless of its
demographics: large or small - urban, suburban or rural. With
special vigilance, parishioners must seek out and welcome new
members to the parish family. “When I was a stranger, you
welcomed me.” (Mt. 25:35). Jesus Christ teaches that whenever
we welcome one of the least of our sisters and brothers, we
welcome Christ Himself. The Pillar of Hospitality teaches us that even though we are unique individuals we are all part of the One Church working together to continue the mission of the Lord.
God is love and He gives His love to each one of us. As God loves us,
He calls us to love one another. This Divine Love flows through
the heart of the faithful steward to love others. When we are
recipients of such love from others, we are attracted to follow this
example. This desire to welcome others is yet another gift of God.
Our parish strives to be hospitable through the following ministries:
Welcoming Committee, Ushers and Greeters, Events Committee,
Scouting Programs, Sports and Athletics, the Youth Group and the
Art and Environment Committee. If you have a talent in any of these
areas please consider joining one of these groups. We can all support
the pillar of hospitality by welcoming everyone that visits our parish.
You can also support the hospitality pillar by having an attractive and comfortable Church, School, ECC , meeting facilities and programs for parishioners of all ages. To continue the Parish mission, St. Regis needs your continued support of Time, Talent and Treasure.
St. Regis 2017 Ministry Fair and Annual Appeal
“I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.” Many clerical authorities have historically considered these distinctive adjectives to be the most important affirmation of the Christian faith. They are the marks or pillars of our faith. We’ve professed that we believe but how do we practice those beliefs? Over 10 years ago, the Diocese of Wichita Kansas asked the same question and this was their answer. They identified four pillars of a stewardship way of life and associated them with the pillars of faith:
one = hospitality
holy = prayer
catholic = formation
apostolic = service
To further help understand and implement the 4 Pillars of Hospitality, Prayer, Formation and Service, the St. Regis Stewardship Council has identified the Ministries and Councils that best represent each of the 4 Pillars and will be introducing over the next four weeks in this column. Next weekend we will review Hospitality and the following weekend the ministries related to Hospitality will have information tables in the Gathering Space to highlight their activities and answer any questions you may have. This schedule will continue throughout each weekend in October concluding with families making their Time, Talent and Treasure commitments on October 28-29th.
As you read about the 4 Pillars and review the information provided, ask yourself this question; WHERE DO YOU FIT IN THE 4 PILLARS OF STEWARDSHIP? You may already be involved in one or more of our 50+ ministries which is fantastic. If you are not involved in any ministries, prayerfully consider getting involved and signing up.
We are called… In the end everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts! – Pope Francis