- Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
- 4th Sunday of Easter - World Day of Prayer for Vocations
- 22 April 2018
Over the last two years, we have initiated an Offertory Commitment program to help increase our awareness of the fiscal needs of the parish. As a consequence of this effort over the last couple years, there has been an increase in parish revenue, which has allowed us to expand our ministries and undertake some long overdue capital repairs. Because of the generosity of committed parishioners, the formation programs for our adult parishioners have expanded in scope and numbers. This has yielded many benefits by involving more individuals and families in the work of the gospel and the overall impact of the parish in our community. Combined with the available capital in our Building Fund, the increase in revenue has eliminated the need for buckets in the church on rainy days and given us a baptismal font that no longer leaks holy water all over the floor in the Commons. There are remaining infrastructure repairs and improvements on the list, but we have begun to tackle some of the long-overdue projects that have been needing attention in recent years. A cursory drive through the parking lots, avoiding potholes and crumbling curbs, easily reveals our next priority.
The completion of the new Ministry Wing has given us some more breathing room for our growing family. Our new walk-in refrigerator and dishwashing room have recently become operational, while the new kitchen equipment and appliances are scheduled to be installed over the next few months. These improvements will complete the kitchen space in the ministry wing with available funds that have not added to our debt. Because of a very favorable interest rate on our loan, we were able to build the ministry wing and expand our services. But that interest rate is scheduled to increase by two points in 2020, so we must be proactive in paying down the principal as much as possible over the next two years.
As important as the bricks and mortar might be, our parish staff and ministry programs comprise the lion’s share of our expenses and these are expanding as well. We are learning to be more efficient with our resources and are so grateful for all the volunteers in the parish. They are the real engine of this community and their generosity of me and talent provides the power for the work that we do at St. Elizabeth Seton. From the days of our founding in 1981, St. Elizabeth Seton has been a tithing parish.
Ten percent of our offertory income is given away to charities at home and abroad. Even in the lean days, when funds were very tight, we have always returned our thanks in gratitude to God for the blessings we have been given. Our tithes have provided an education for thousands of children in Haiti and many of our own right here at Guerin Catholic High School. We have fed the poor overseas and those closer to home through “Anna’s House” and the Matthew 25 Center at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. We have helped the Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Augustine Home and provided healthcare to the needy at St. Joseph Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and just up the road at the Trinity Free Clinic in Carmel. Many parishioners have endeavored to move toward this posture of thinking in their own personal lives… to return the first fruits of their time, talent and treasure to God.
Later this week, every registered household will receive an intent card in the mail. Please take some me to review the brochure and your participation in the mission of your spiritual home at St. Elizabeth Seton. You will be asked to make a financial commitment to support your parish. Next Sunday, April 28th and 29th, will be our annual Commitment Sunday. Please bring your commitment card to mass next weekend and join with your fellow parishioners in moving toward a position of tithing in gratitude to God. There is a convenient chart on the card that suggests a 5% or 3% contribution for annual or weekly giving. All our commitment cards will be collected during the Offertory next Sunday. Your return of the card is not a pledge; it is a commitment of intent. Of course, the idea is to help the parish, but also to help each one of us to seriously trust in the providence of God and the responsibility we have to fulfill the mission that Christ has given us – to love God and neighbor. Even a modest increase in your offertory giving can have a cumulative effect on parish revenue that helps us at home and also the many charities that we support. As important as the needs that we and so many others might have, the bottom line for the Biblical value of tithing is primarily grounded in gratitude. In the midst of our own difficulties, whether they are significant or minimal, we remain tied to one another by the love of God for us all. Our return of thanks to God is intended to shape our lives in terms of what we can give and not what we can get. Down deep we know that this is true. The things of this world might make us happy for a brief time, but they do not last. What brings authentic joy to this fragile life we have been given is a generous spirit. A life of gratitude is a life that is worth living.