Introducing . . . .

Introducing…

Our beautiful new Catholic Way of Life blog!

 Back in January I wrote this to our email subscribers:

 “One of the projects we have been working on in the Office of Stewardship is exploring ways to make the information in past weekly emails more accessible and useful for you.  We are going to move Fr. Mark’s Musings from 2015-2018 and the weekly emails I have been writing since July to a blog site which will enable you to search past posts by keywords and tags.  It is my hope that this will be helpful to you. “

 Today I wrote:

Our office has been working on several projects over the past several months.  I shared with you several months ago that I had a desire to convert all of Fr. Mark’s Musings as well as these weekly emails I have been sending since July into a blog.  The Lord took that desire of mine and replied,“Why think so small? Let’s revamp Stewardship’s whole presence on the web!”  So we took a deep breath and dived into the project.

 We are still just at the beginning stages, but the first part of this project, the new blog page, is up and running!  All of the historical “blogs” are up and are fully searchable.  We have categorized them under our pillars:

 We have also tagged them with words we think you would find useful when you are searching for insight and inspiration.  For instance, when Christmas approaches and you would like some great ideas on how to welcome the many guests who will be at your church for the Christmas Masses, just search for “Christmas hospitality” and all that we have written over the years comes up for you.

 Click here to check it out. Also, while you are there, would you take a few minutes to leave a comment?

I am looking forward to providing a spot where we can share information with one another there.  I often receive emails from readers of this weekly email.  They share encouragement, their own stories and experiences, and great tips.  I am sad the rest of you don’t see and share in all the good news I receive!  I am hopeful that the blog will provide a spot for you to share these comments with everyone.  Each week this email will go up on the blog as a post, so please share your good news!

Back in January, I also shared this old post of Fr. Mark’s. It made me laugh and I thought you would enjoy it as well.  After all, “good stewards are always the joyful bearers of the Good News of Salvation.”  I hope you enjoy it!

 From Fr. Mark’s Musings:

On Saturday, I was driving to Martin to cover for the weekend Masses in Martin and Kadoka. About 30 miles from Kadoka a bull snake started to slither up the windshield. Thank goodness it was on the outside.  Nevertheless, my heart started racing and I began to think irrationally about the snake crawling inside the car. What I should have done was to take a couple deep breaths, breathing in the Holy Spirit, pulled over and let the snake crawl off my vehicle and into the ditch—the logical and prudent thing to do. However, my fear got the best of me and I decided to hit the windshield wipers catapulting the snake over the top of the car.

Looking back at this encounter in light of the Bishop’s Pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, I was reminded of God’s creation and how I am called as a Christian Steward to care for and cultivate the world with the joyful appreciation for the God-given beauty and wonder of nature—yes this includes even snakes.

 

 

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Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

What Is Stewardship? (Hint: It is much more than a $ sign)

Introducing…

Sometimes it is easiest to describe what something is by stating what it is NOT. Stewardship is not merely about how we spend our money. It is certainly is not simply a fancy word used by churches to get people to donate to the parish. However, the word is often understood as such. Fr. Mark McCormick began using the slide above when the Stewardship Initiative was first implemented in the Diocese in 2015. However, whenever I bring it up with a group of people, the most common thing I still hear is that, “stewardship is about money.”

So, if we were to distill Stewardship down to its essential elements, to answer quickly and succinctly the question, “What is a Christian Steward?”, what would that explanation include?  For me, the fundamental beliefs which guide the Christian steward are these: 

  • God is the owner of all things.  Everything we possess and all that we are as human persons are gifts from God, who loves us more than we can often imagine and desires only our good.  We are beloved sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe. This is why we use the word “steward”. A steward is someone who has been entrusted with something not his own. Christian stewards understand that they are receiving and caring for the gifts of God. And these gifts include many things: our material wealth, our health, our talents, the time we have each day, our faith.
  • Gratitude. As Americans, we set aside one day a year to be thankful, but Christian stewards cultivate gratitude daily. This is a habit we have to work to develop because we find what we are looking for. If we are looking for the blessings of life, we will find them. As we begin enumerating and thanking God for the many gifts He has given, we begin seeing them everywhere. And the more we see and are thankful, the more our lives are transformed. this habit plants us firmly on the road to Living A Catholic Way of Life.
  • Generosity. Trusting in God’s love and care for us and seeing the many blessings and gifts, we respond with gratitude and generosity.  Knowing that God’s love is infinite, his care unending, we carry in our hearts a belief in abundance, not scarcity.  After all, our Lord fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, what do we have to fear? Knowing that the source that we are drawing from is infinite, we are free to be generous.
  • Trust. A Steward who recognizes the gifts given by God, is thankful and practices generosity experiences the abundance and goodness of God in concrete ways in life. Experiencing this goodness then leads to greater trust. The more we trust, the more we experience this goodness. And the cycle continues.

Recognition that God is the owner of all things, practicing gratitude and generosity and growing in our trust in God, lead us into this Catholic Way of Life.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 1 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

6 + 8 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

A Christian Steward Trusts

A Christian Steward Trusts

Last Sunday was Divine Mercy Sunday and I have my Divine Mercy image in a prominent place with it’s gentle reminder, “Jesus, I trust in You” both challenging and comforting me this week. The day before yesterday the talented team assisting my office with the update to our web page and the creation of a new set of education resources were discussing some of the core attitudes of a Steward. I mentioned trust. A Christian Steward receives God’s gifts gratefully and in order to be open to receiving gifts one has to trust the Giver. Therefore, trust is fundamental. This was my argument.. A team member said, “It seems to me that trust comes more on the back end than on the front end. I would say that trust is an attribute of a Dedicated Disciple.” So the interesting question raised is:

Do we become Dedicated Disciples and then grow in our trust of the Lord?

— OR —

Do we trust in God and then grow to become his Dedicated Disciples?

And to that I would say, “Yes.” The answer to both questions is “Yes.” It isn’t really an either/or question. Rather, like so many other things in Christianity, it is a both/and. One of the fundamental effects of Original Sin is an almost innate mistrust of God. Like Eve, we hear the whisper of the Evil One saying, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the Garden?” (Gen 3:1) In other words, “God can’t be trusted. He isn’t telling you the truth. He’s holding out on you.” We are all subject to this whisper. And I believe the enemy is persistent, both at the beginning of our journey of faith and later. The whisper continues. And so does our battle against it.

The beautiful message of Divine Mercy is necessary, good, and true both at the beginning, , and as we grow in stewardship; both a necessary belief at the outset that gives us a reason to yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciple and a virtue we deepen and strengthen as our experience of the great love of God grows with the passage of time. “Jesus I trust in You!” is a good message for beginners and dedicated disciples alike.

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

2 + 15 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

Love Should Be Our Primary Motivation

“Don’t push where the Holy Spirit is leading.”


Fr. Charles Lachowitzer

On Monday and Tuesday the Bishop, the Chancery staff, most of our priests and many of those who work in parishes were here at Terra Sancta for Pastoral Ministry Days.  Our speaker, Fr. Charles Lachowitzer is the Vicar General for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.  He is a man of great wisdom and many of the things he said have me thinking.  There were several times over the course of the two days when I thought to myself, “This echoes our Stewardship initiative!”  For example, Fr. Charles often spoke of the importance of face-to-face invitations in the life of the parish.  In today’s world, the amount of messages we receive can be overwhelming and the face-to-face communications with others becomes even more important (and harder to come by!).  He also spoke highly of our Diocesan pastoral plan and of pastoral planning in general.  He said that parish leadership should have meaningful work that leads toward a vision that has been laid out in a pastoral plan and that a plan can be viewed like a “job listing”; a means by which we can call the gifts of the people forward and facilitate their participation in the mission of Jesus.  But there are two comments he made that stand out to me particularly:

“The people of God have the right to participate in the mission of Jesus and the structures of the church should serve that purpose.” 

Most often I hear pastors and parish leaders express a desire for more “volunteers”, more help in doing the work of the Church.  Often times we lament the lack of catechists in a parish, the reality that “too few people are doing too much of the work”.  But never have I heard someone speak of the right to participate.  What would happen in a parish or school if people stopped viewing requests from others in the parish as unpleasant obligations and instead began asking for the opportunity to exercise a right to participate?  That would be quite a paradigm shift.  And as Fr. Charles said, if all the people in a parish did that, would we be able to handle it?  I don’t know about you, but I would love to see us try!

Fr. Charles also said several times, “Don’t push where the Holy Spirit is leading.”  Hmmm.  Patience, I suppose, is what he is calling for here.  It reminds me of Jesus admonishing St. Peter, “Get behind me Satan!”.  I have often found myself in Peter’s position — I have grasped some truth, glimpsed clearly some part of Jesus’ mission.  Excitedly, I run full speed ahead with my new found knowledge or insight, only to be brought up short when Jesus gently reminds me that I have “run” right past Him and am no longer following the One for whom I am supposed to be working for.  More often than not, this happens when I become too focused on “doing something” to the neglect of loving and serving others.  Fr. Charles very wisely reminded us that often to slow down, to plan well, to take the time to make sure our plans are well communicated with everyone involved, saves a lot of conflict, tension, and chaos later.  It was a good reminder to me that love should always be our primary motivation in all of our actions.  There is a great deal of satisfaction to be found in being efficient, in checking tasks off of a list; but if in the process we step on toes, ignore people, or exclude those who God may be calling to help, we have not served the mission of Jesus.  The most important “work” that is done in the midst of our “work” is to give and receive the love of God.  St. Teresa of Calcutta used to challenge her sisters to make sure that every person they encountered in the course of their day was better off for having seen or talked with them.  If we were able to do this well, we would surely be serving in the Lord’s vineyard no matter what other tasks and projects were filling up our time.  This seems to me to be the main thing.  And as Stephen Covey says, “the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”  That is my challenge.  Perhaps it is yours as well.


“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait–it’s how we behave while we are waiting.”  Joyce Meyer

This Sunday’s 2nd reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, cautions the Christian church in Corinth (and us!), not to grumble as some of the Israelites did in the desert and “suffered death by the destroyer.”  Yikes!  It seems a strong rebuke — death — for something which we experience seemingly every day– grumbling!  We grumble, our spouses grumble, our kids grumble, our co-workers grumble.  The media we consume is full of grumbling.  Sometimes we joke about it, realizing we perhaps shouldn’t be grumbling.  “First world problem!”, we cry, for instance.  Other times though, the problems and the challenges are serious and real and our grumbling seems justified.  Whatever the case may be, it seems wise, given St. Paul’s strong counsel, that we should be on guard against our temptations to grumble.  

What weapons do we have against this temptation?  I think one weapon is the virtue of patience.  Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and as Dr. Gray says in the video below is also an attribute of love.  “Love is patient,” St. Paul writes in the 1 Corinthians 13. 

The Christian Steward is, as the USCCB document reminds us, “always the joyful bearer of the Good News of salvation.”  Grumblers aren’t joyful.  And grumbling inevitably leaves us feeling discouraged and empty. I am inspired and challenged by this Sunday’s reading and Dr. Gray’s comments to strive to root out my own grumbling and to strengthen the virtue of patience so that I might more authentically be a witness of the Joy of the Gospel.  


https://formed.org/study/5c5dceaf0db5a21500a6f1c8/lesson/5c6c322740ff2e1600efbaa6

Christian Stewards Are Grateful

“Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”


1 Thess. 5:16-18

A wise co-worker noted once that St. Paul, in the passage above, does not ask us to give thanks for all circumstances, merely to give thanks in all circumstances.  I don’t know that I can bring myself to be thankful for the blizzard brewing; but I certainly am thankful in the midst of it. 

We have spent the better part of the last two days preparing for the onslaught, queued up in some of the longest lines at WalMart I have ever seen, so that we have adequate drinking water in case we lose power and moving hay, snow and cattle in an attempt to keep all of the livestock alive if things get nasty.  I am sure many of you have done more and worked much harder than we have in preparing for the storm. There’s not a lot of fun involved either before or during.  

However, whenever we experience bad winter weather, I am always reminded of reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder many years ago to my children.  In it, Laura recounts her family’s harrowing experiences living through a very hard winter in DeSmet, South Dakota.  She remembers one day complaining to her Ma about having to wear her heavy long underwear to school under her dress and stockings.  “It’s too hot for my red flannels, Mama!” she complains.  By early afternoon, there was no sunshine and the “wind crashed against the schoolhouse.”  After some time had passed, one of the men from the town knocked on the schoolhouse door and led the teacher and children home in the blinding blizzard.  Even though the schoolhouse was just outside “town” (a two-block stretch of street), they nearly lost their way in the wind and snow.  Having experienced prairie blizzards before, Laura knows their lives are in danger. Later, sitting by the fire, feeling confused and unable to get warm, Laura wipes her eyes and realizes her eyelids are bleeding from the driving snow and ice.  I remember her also speaking about the fears they had when Pa would head out to do chores on their “claim” on a bright, sunny morning.  They didn’t know if a storm would come up and prevent his getting home before the day was out.  After reading of their experiences, I realized how my whole life I had taken weather forecasting for granted.  For the first time I had an idea of what life would be like without it. 

So in the midst of the frantic preparations for the storm, despite the fact that I am weary of winter and ready for spring, I can thank God for the gift of the weather forecast which allows us to know ahead of time when a dangerous storm is coming and gives us the opportunity to prepare for it.  And what if it turns out they were mistaken and the worst of the storm misses us?  Then I can be thankful for two things and not just one! 

Christian stewards are grateful.

photo by Jason Abdilla on Unsplash