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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!
Fr. William Holtzinger
I want to thank Jeanette Shibler and all the people who put on last weekend's Bazaar. I am always amazed at the variety of crafts that the Bazaar Committee as well as parishioners create. I don't know any financials, but from seeing the number of people and the amount of cars in our parking lot, it was most certainly a friend raiser, something that is akin to our outreach as a parish.
Offertory Program Challenges Us To Participate In The Church
Thank you all for your generosity in time, talent, treasure, and tradition to St. Anne's. This past year we ended in the black due to two factors: budget cuts and your financial commitments. This year we aim to do finish in a stable position again due to the same two factors, but this time our budget cuts were much more significant which impacted employment and office hours. Once again, I come before you to ask you to discern how you can make a commitment for 2011. That's only two months away. Yet, we need to ask you all to consider what you can do to participate in the life of the Church.
In today's Scripture from Paul (2 Thes. 3:7-12), we are encouraged to imitate Paul who did not get a hand out but worked in "toil and drudgery" so as not to create a burden for the rest of the community. It is a serious challenge to us all to consider our general orientation towards the Church. Do I give to God's Church or am I merely a taker who keeps busy minding other's business all the while being disorderly myself (vs. 11)? Paul challenges us all to participate in the life of the Church. We have all been given talents and abilities that are to be shared in gratitude for all that God has given us.
Time, talent, treasure, and tradition are what I am asking you to think about. In the context of this process, time and talent involve giving your skills to the activities and lifestyle of the parish. I think about all those who worked for the past year to make the Bazaar happen. That took some serious time and talent! Treasure is a financial commitment that we are being asked to commit to in a weekly way as we come to Mass. Tradition is the wealth of our lived experience which we are called to pass on to those around us and, in particular, those who are younger.
This week you will receive a brochure in the mail which will give a reflection about the need to give in response to God's love for us, a detailed outline of our current budget, and a sample of the cards that will be handed out next week during the homily time. Please read through this brochure and, with your family, pray about how you are being called to respond.
May God bless you this week,
Fr. William Holtzinger
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
Fr. William Holtzinger