Viewing entries tagged
Stewardship

Thank You Volunteers!

Thank You Volunteers!

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend, we offered our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Giving thanks is what we Catholics do. The word in Greek is the same word we use for Eucharist. So, we share our common thanksgiving for what Christ gave us in his Body and Blood as well as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the lay ministries of the Church.

Last week, we heard about how the disciples gathered together to listen to the teachings of the Apostles, share in fellowship, broke bread (think the Eucharist), and lived a common life helping each other. They didn’t do this because they believed in Socialism. They lived this way because of their shared experience of the crucified and risen Lord. Out of that experience came their desire to serve and give instead of being served and hoarding. We can all learn from their example.

In our situation, we have much for which to be thankful. Indeed, without our volunteers participating in the many, many ministries of our parish, there simply would be no outreach beyond Mass. It isn’t a matter of ownership and territory (these are antagonistic to the Gospel), but one of responsible stewardship, of recognizing one’s need to give, of making commitments and following through, of tending, and of responding in gratitude for all that God has given us. So, if you are involved in any ministry and were not able to make it to our gathering, please know of our deep appreciation for your faithful response to God’s calling in your life. I am a proud papa, or pastor! I am so grateful for all those things our parishioners do, those visible and invisible. You know who you are.

May God continue to pour out on you all his grace upon you all, and thank you so much for giving of your time, talent, treasure, and tradition to our community!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor 

Vacations & Commitments

 

Dear Parishioners,
 

This month of June marks the beginning of summer vacations. It also marks the time for me to remind us all not to take a vacation from our faith. Many of us will be traveling to some wonderful and sometimes remote places. God’s earth is a cathedral of sorts which proclaims his glory. I, too, will take my annual trip to the Oregon Star Party in August. I want to encourage you to make good plans. We’ve all forgotten something from underwear, to towels, to specific foods, to even important medications. This causes stress for what should be a time of relaxation and recreation. But, let us not forget our faith.
 

First, before you leave, check our website (stannegp.com) which has always had a place on the left of the page to find churches near your destination and between as well as their Mass times. Just type in the name of the city or zip code, and you will be given several options for Mass. Write down or print out that information and take it with you. Of course, if you have a smart phone, you can do this on the fly. This is where technology is awesome! As a child, a great lesson my parents taught me was that camping was optional, Mass was not. Although it was a real sacrifice to drive back into town from a remote location while camping, my parents did it. At the time, I wish they would have not taken out my Sunday play time on the beach, lake, forest, etc. But, it did instill in me the importance and sacredness of our faith and, in particular, the Mass. I am very grateful today for their example. As a young adult and now adult, I found that going to Mass in a foreign place brought me home no matter where I was. The Mass was, essentially, the same everywhere I went. It brought me peace and a sense of groundedness amidst the strange and unfamiliar sites of my vacations.
 

Another way not to forget one’s faith while on vacation is to continue one's financial commitment to the home parish. Every parish experiences serious financial dips during the summer due to people not making their offering, because of vacations. Yet, we all have to pay our bills. Some of our bills are lower and others are higher simply due to the season.

must, of course, continue to pay our employees who minister all year around. There are several ways to be faithful to one’s commitment. I’ll list them from less ideal to the most ideal way.

 

  • Make up what wasn’t offered upon return from vacation.
  • Offer one’s giving prior to leaving which includes the time away.
  • Set up an automatic electronic payment system using what is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH). This, by the way, is the most secure way to give to the church.
  • The ACH method is very flexible, timely, and secure.

All we need is a voided check and your signature for permission to make the funds transfer. Using ACH is very secure, for it does not create a check which could be intercepted in the mail or somehow mishandled in a myriad of ways, but rather makes a direct exchange from one bank to another bank. Any parishioner can determine if they want their offering to happen on a weekly or monthly basis. One can change their giving amount and or cancel the process at any time with a simple phone call to our business manager, Stephen Voehl. I use this method, and it gives me satisfaction and peace to know that I am giving what I promised and it happens automatically, especially when I am on vacation.
 

So, please enjoy your vacations! We all need to take a break and to rest. It is part of living out God’s commandments to rest. Within that rest, we are to keep our lives focused on God. So, please do not miss Mass. As much as is possible, arrange your vacations to seek out the beauty and uniqueness of other Catholic parishes. They will inspire you either in what those communities do or in what we do. Either way it is a win- win. Regarding keeping your financial commitment, seek out Stephen Voehl or me for more information about ACH. 
Finally, may God be with you on your travels. May he guard and guide you with his angels. May your summer vacations be full of life, love, and adventure!

 

Blessings,
 

Fr. William Holtzinger

Pastor

Being Sheep


Dear Parishioners,

Last weekend I offered a homily on what it means to be the sheep of God’s flock. It is likewise hard to be a local shepherd at times as well. The good news is that we are all in this together, and we are not alone, for we have our Archbishop to help and guide us on our journey as a parish the local church called the Archdiocese of Portland.


In my homily, I reflected on the process of remodeling our Church building. But, I didn’t mention why a remodel was even needed. The reasons are many, but here are just some of the main ones. First and foremost, the particular approach to semi-round seating in our situation is problematic for liturgical celebrations, especially when a vast majority of people are seated to one side and hardly anyone sits in front of the altar. Most of the pews are not facing the altar, the main focus of any Catholic Church. Our lighting system is very inadequate. The acoustics render the spoken word hard to understand. The ability to use any kind of visual multimedia is extremely difficult (think, Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal video). The ability to celebrate baptisms, weddings, and funerals are a struggle liturgically. I imagine that many of you have your own thoughts that you might add to this list. Regardless, we need to implement a remodel to address these and other issues.

There are many many ways a Church can be built and or remodeled. There is no perfect or right way. Through the course of history, the Catholic Church has built many styles of Churches to the glory of God. I mentioned that I was aware that we have basically two paradigms from which to begin: augmenting the current semi-round approach we currently have or turning the entire focus in one direction facing the East or West side of our Church. Knowing that Archbishop Sample would ultimately have to approve our final design, I desired to ask him about the basic paradigm. So, two weeks ago I had that opportunity. He was very gracious and inquisitive about our project as well as the basic shape of our building. We had only a few minutes to chat, but he clearly desired that we choose the second of the two paradigms described above. In addition, he was clear that he desired that the tabernacle be placed directly behind the altar. He mentioned that, in particular with regard to the tabernacle placement, this would simply solve a lot of issues, a thought with which I agree.

I readily admit that I like modern architectural designs of many Catholic Churches, and I like Church arrangements in the semi- round approach. However, I also see many benefits of other designs too, including ones with the paradigm for which we will be striving. It is important to remember that the architecture of a Church, while important, isn’t the wholeness of what it means to be Church. If you find yourself saddened by this potential change, I want to encourage you to know that new and great things can come from this other approach. If you have always hoped that a remodel would be done in the forthcoming style, I ask that you be compassionate to those who have to die a little to the vision of Church that they have come to love. Most important is our sense of unity and communion with each other, our Archbishop, and most of all our Lord Jesus. Do not let this process become a moment for despair or arrogance, but rather for joy... joy for the new things that God is planning in our midst.

It is hard to be a sheep, following as a flock, together with one’s shepherd. I promise to continue to shepherd us all with clarity and transparency. In the months and years ahead, as we continue in this plan, there will be a feasibility study, potential listening sessions, input from various groups, a committee to help in the renovation, a capital campaign, discussions with our contractor and architect, and consistent communication with those at the Archdiocese as needed. I have already received people’s thoughts and desires about what they hope will happen, for which I am open. But, remember that this process may not necessarily please everyone, nor necessarily fulfill one’s personal demands. In that situation, please guard your hearts from the temptation of pride and arrogance that can cause dissension in these kinds of works. I will not be receptive to those who are demanding, lack charity, or will give with “strings attached.” This process will involve people with stewards’ hearts, people who are willing to give with faith and generosity, people who are willing to serve with regard to the common good and not themselves. As far as exacting details, I do not have any more than I have offered here as I write this letter. In this process, it is my personal goal that it will bring us together as one community, striving to remodel our Church to give God the glory, not ourselves. I am excited about the possibilities, and I ask you to pray for me, your local shepherd, as we begin the initial phases of dreaming and planning. May we be a light to all those with whom we work with and talk to in regards to this project.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor 

Stewardship & Evangelization

Dear Parishioners,

Today we all make our commitments of Stewardship (Time, Talent, Treasure, and Tradition) during Mass. Thank you for your generosity to the community of St. Anne's.  I hope the brochure that was sent to you was helpful in your discernment process.  Next week, we will repeat this process, but in an abbreviated form for those who were gone this weekend or were not yet ready to make a commitment this weekend.

I have noticed an amazing outpouring of parishioners getting involved in many aspects of the parish which warms my heart.  The time and talent that people have given over the years has been truly inspirational.  I sure love being your pastor and hope that I will be able to grow even more with you in the years to come.  

In my homily last week, I felt that I didn't explain as much as I had hoped regarding our sharing of our Traditions. The homily was long enough, eh?  So, if I could encourage you to ponder on this, please consider sharing the greatest tradition we have been given: our Mass!  Maybe you know someone who is Catholic and has been away for a while.  A recent study done by the Pew Research Center (pewforum.org) has shown a decrease in people who affiliate with church (-5% in Protestant Churches and -1% in Catholic Churches) and and large (+4.3%) increase to make up 20% of our population of people who believe in God, but not in any religion.  These are called "unaffiliated."  I wonder how many of these "unaffiliated" were Catholics at one time.  While the percentage of Catholics have seen a smaller down-turn than other traditions since 2007, -1% is actually a large number of people, and I'll bet you know a few yourself.  

So, we have to be aware of the issue that there are a lot of fallen away Catholics who have possibly disassociated themselves from any church connection.  This is a problem that we need to take seriously.  This year, Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a Year of Faith where we need to concentrate on what is called a "New Evangelization."  Evangelization is something that we Catholics have a hard time with, no?  But, if we don't proclaim our faith in the public square or share our faith with the people closest to us, then we should not be too surprised to see how secular or unchurched we have become as a society.  Evangelization doesn't need to be hard.  But, it must begin with ourselves.  What do we believe and how does our life and words show it?  What example do we make in our work?  

St. Anne's, as I mentioned earlier, is an amazing community with a wealth of faith and love.  We have something great to share and proclaim.  Do not be afraid.  Seek out someone you know who has been away from Mass or church in general.  Let them know of the Good News of Jesus found here at St. Anne's.  Encourage them to connect with a Bible Study, or Welcome Home Catholics program, or simply to join you at Mass the next time you go.  It doesn't have to be difficult.  Remember that we have all been called to go out and proclaim the Good News of Jesus!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Summertime and Stewardship

Dear Parishioners,

The sunshine has finally arrived, school is out, and vacation time is upon us! Yea! As stewards, it is important to remind us all about our faith-filled response to our time, talent, treasure, and tradition.

Time
Summer is a time for nurturing our wellbeing. Spend time in prayer. Go camping. Read that book you’ve been wanting to get to. Go for a day trip. Whatever it is that energizes you which you haven’t been able to do, take out time to make it happen. In addition, ponder on how you can give of your time to a ministry that you’ve wanted to be part of. Volunteer somewhere that could use the extra help while people are on vacations. Even our adoration chapel needs extra people to fill in the gaps that always occur due to summer trips.

Talent
Where is your talent? Do you sing? Do you like teens or young children? Do you find joy in visiting the sick? Is gardening or landscaping your thing? Seek out people who are involved in a ministry you like. For example, our choirs are always in need of extra voices. Why not try volunteering your time with a particular group? During summer, some choirs practice just prior to Mass. As you may already know, we are in need to help fill in the gap while John Robles in on sick leave. Maybe you could help with your fix-it skills?

Treasure
As you go camping or traveling, please remember that St. Anne’s still has responsibilities to pay our bills. Consider how you can maintain your financial commitment to your community of faith. One such method is our automatic giving program via what the banks call ACH. See Alan Crews, our business manager, for more information. Now you can leave for vacation and not worry about you financial commitment to the Church.

In the coming year, we will be starting our part of the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. This is in addition to our ongoing Parish Offertory Program, Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal, and other required special collections. More information about the capital campaign will be forthcoming, but it is important to begin thinking about your own financial commitments and the variety of opportunities to give. Nobody likes surprises. So, please know that between September and January, our parish will be joining the other parishes of the Archdiocese in a process to replenish needed funds at the Archdiocesan level.

Tradition
Recreation is important to our mind, body, and spirit. Please take time to plan some time to do something fun that will help you be created anew. Remember the trips you once found so moving and foundational to your own youth? Don’t forget the traditions you’ve been given, and share them with your family. Maybe create new ones. Consider a special evening out with the family or family meal in the backyard. Begin a movie night or invite neighbors over for an evening barbecue. Plan an early morning or late evening walk together. Get out the bicycles and go for a ride. Visit friends from the past. Share or create new traditions for your family.

Summertime is a wonderful time to be recreated, to share your gifts, and to thank God for all that he has given us. May this summer be safe and full of joy and adventure as you live out your faith as a steward of the gifts God has given you!

Blessings,


Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor