In 1995 a small group of Saint Paul parishioners traveled to Chicago to attend the National Catholic Stewardship Council Conference (now the International Catholic Stewardship Council - ICSC). With the seeds planted, the parish leaders began to discuss and plan stewardship efforts and in 1998 a new pastor brought an energized stewardship mindset to the parish. In 2000 Saint Paul Parish began a journey to organize and develop stewardship as a way of life.
With a new stewardship committee supported by the pastor, the first ministry fair was held in 2001 and this began the “formal” stewardship process. Saint Paul has consistently shared the message of stewardship through the annual ministry fair, an annual stewardship renewal, discernment of parishioner’s gifts, prayer experiences and other parish events.
The US Bishops Pastoral Letter on Stewardship tells us that a steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly and in justice, and returns them with increase to the Lord. These 4 attributes of a steward match up with 4 areas of focus for both individual Catholics and the parish: we receive God’s gifts gratefully through prayer and worship focused on thanksgiving; we cultivate them responsibly through formation and education focused on learning more about stewardship and how to be better stewards; we share our gifts lovingly and in justice when we share them with others especially the less fortunate; and we can return them with increase to the Lord by giving adequately to the Lord’s instrument here on earth, our Church. We will detail ideas for how parishes can lead efforts to do this in the following tabs.