Being Good Stewards of Our Parish Communities

We’re still in the grip of a hot and sunny summer, but August brings a wake-up call. By August’s end, visiting relatives have gone home, schools will be open, swimming pools will be closed, and college kids have packed up and left for the halls of academia. What’s all that mean for the Christian steward? As we journey through August, parishes begin to teem with plans and new vitality.

The parish is where the Church lives, and stewards are the lifeblood of a successful parish. In the parish, we find community and support, liturgy and ritual, sacrament and healing. In the parish, we find a way to give and a way to receive. On a practical level, fall is the time when parish planning gears up for the seasons ahead. Now, for a Christian steward, is the time to prayerfully consider your own involvement in the life of the parish in the coming year. How might we serve – and be served? The Christian steward knows participation in the parish is a win-win situation, feeding us as we feed others.

Where to begin? Your parish website or office may provide a list of ministries in the parish. What calls to you? Respond to your deep desire. Maybe you’re the party planner who’d love to serve on the social committee. Or perhaps you have a heart for helping the bereaved. Are you called to lector, or perhaps to take the Eucharist to the homebound? Maybe this is the year you need to soak in the fruits of adult education. Possibly you see a ministry missing and want to propose it. Perhaps, as a long time steward, you want to be part of revitalizing the stewardship efforts of your parish.

If you take a look at the schedule for ICSC’s October conference, you know there are a host of sessions which address how to enliven parish stewardship. Maybe this is the year you’re called to attend the conference – another win-win situation in which you learn how to welcome the stranger, bring out the best in your parishioners, and encourage discipleship all while experiencing the community and support of other conference goers. August is a perfect time to reflect on where – not “if”-- you are called. August provides time to decompress from a busy, fun summer and pray about where your own road to discipleship leads you next.

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