January 6, 2023
The month of January is not only the start of a new year, but also a time of new beginnings. We often start the new year with earnest desires like exercising more, eating more healthily, or spending
more time with family and friends. But “desire” is only the first step in new beginning becoming a consistent reality. Truly effective change happens when we sit down and plan how we will make enduring adjustments to our lives. This process may involve a reprioritization of values, and even a discarding of some activities or behaviors to make space for new ones.
At Saint Andrew Parish we engage in a similar process through our annual Season of Stewardship. This year’s season happens to coincide with the month of January and our collective desire for new beginnings. The annual Season of Stewardship is a way for us to shed the light of faith upon the reprioritization that we make in any new year and to make some spiritual adjustments if necessary.
The theme for this year’s Season of Stewardship is “Plan Generosity.” That may sound like an oxymoron since we tend to view generosity as something that spontaneously springs from the heart.
But, in reality the movement of the heart is only the first step. For generosity to become a consistent hallmark of our lives, our heart’s desires need to root themselves in prudent planning. Some time ago, I encountered a gentleman who was opening the door for customers as they entered and left a fast-food restaurant. Without ever asking, he graciously accepted tips. Since I rarely carry any money anymore, I was moved to buy him a gift card for the restaurant. After that initial encounter, I decided that I would buy a gift card for him every time I went to that restaurant. This lasted for a couple of years until a couple months ago, when the gentleman was no longer present. My desire for generosity is still existent, but now I need to plan once again. Where and how can my desire to be generous root itself?
I invite you to join me in this Season of Stewardship by reflecting on how you can generously respond to God’s initial generosity. I am asking all parishioners to prayerfully consider how they will use their TIME, TALENT, and TREASURE in the year ahead. After praying about this, I ask you to complete the commitment card included in this mailing and return it to the parish through the normal Sunday offertory collection, through the mail, or to complete the online form at www.standrew.org/stewardship.
Through this effort, we can all make a commitment that stewards the many gifts given by God to each household. This commitment includes care for oneself, one’s family and one’s fellow citizens. It should embrace a care for creation, for the vulnerable, and yes, the care of God’s Church through Saint Andrew Parish. While all three aspects of stewardship remain important, because of increased financial costs to parish operations, we are asking for parishioners especially to plan the generosity of their treasure and if possible, to increase their regular Sunday offertory in line with their capacity.
I truly believe that since we are created in the image and likeness of God, we are instinctively generous people. The fruit of our annual commitment is seeing numerous parishioners allow generosity to lead them into becoming the person God calls them to be. As you make a commitment to stewardship, challenge yourself to form a deeper relationship with God by offering back your TIME, TALENT, and TREASURE. At the same time, be prudent. God calls you as you are and as you are able. The life of a disciple is a journey made step by step.
Sometimes I am asked, “Why do we do this every year? I made a commitment last year.” Our annual Season of Stewardship is not only a discernment process for you as your life changes, but it also helps the parish staff, parish leadership, and myself know how we can serve you better. We want to support your own personal path to good stewardship, particularly when there is a new interest in serving in ministry or when you are considering your financial support of Saint Andrew through increased Sunday contributions or through estate planning. Whatever “next step” you choose to take, we want to help!
I feel blessed to be the pastor of Saint Andrew Parish. The amazing generosity of our community never ceases to amaze me. It serves as a model and a challenge in my own faith journey. Your commitment to wisely use your TIME, TALENT, and TREASURE makes Saint Andrew Parish’s mission possible. I thank you for your commitment in the past and I ask for your ongoing commitment in the future.
As always, if I or any of the staff at Saint Andrew Parish can be of service to you, please let us know.
With deep gratitude,
Fr. Sergio Romo, Pastor