Stewardship requires “noticing.” So many things in our lives are easily taken for granted --- our health, our homes, our faith, yes, even our families. In order to be a good steward, we must be aware of what we have. Some people may remember the old admonition: Count your blessings!
Once we have taken the time to notice all the goodness of God, all the blessings we have, we can’t help but be grateful! We thank and praise God for the wonder of our families, the beauty of creation, our health (in whatever state it may be) and all that composes the texture of our lives. Taking on a heart of gratitude changes how we see things. Chronic complainers tend to be less than grateful. Gratitude raises our spirits and diminishes crankiness!
We go from noticing to gratitude. The third step then comes naturally. We become generous. When you truly understand what you have, the heart swells with gratitude, and out of that gratitude, we are moved to kindness towards others. The best part is, it becomes a cycle. As we are generous, we realize more what we have and we become more grateful, and more generous --- on and on in a cycle of grace!
Everyone is being pulled in many different directions. Money is tight and giving as stewards requires great trust in God and practical understanding --- no one can do everything but everyone can do something.
The Sunday collection is the engine that keeps the parish going, paying all the normal bills of everything from employees and utilities, to cleaning supplies and postage. Our Faith, Our Future is re-paying the Archdiocesan loan for the extensive work being done on our church and hopefully, other work including electrical and plumbing upgrades in our church, rectory and school. Direct gifts to the school will help pay off the debt accrued last year. Other ways you can help are indirect but worthwhile: Using TRIP cards, clipping Campbell Soup labels, and saving box tops from many products. All of these benefit the parish and help pay the bills. You can call the school for details.
In past years when the Annual Catholic Appeal came along, I often got questions from people like, “Why should I give to the Archdiocese?” or “What has the Archdiocese done for us?” These are questions worthy of answers but they betray a certain misunderstanding of who we are as Catholics. We are not a congregational church. By that I mean we don’t make decisions regarding our beliefs, faith or administration. Our parish is not independent, though we are responsible for our well-being. The Church throughout the world is organized much as Saint Paul referred to when he wrote about us as the Body of Christ: “Many though we are, we are one body.” So we support each other. We celebrate every parish’s success and mourn each parish’s pain as if it were our own.
If you’ve been around these past several years, you know what a blessing the Appeal has been to Saint Pascal. Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to do amazing things! The Appeal and the now concluded Our Faith, Our Future campaign helped us to accomplish important and long-lasting improvements. Among them: Wiping out the school-parish debt; extensive repairs to our bell tower; repainting the church; a new boiler servicing our church, school and rectory; restoring the sanctuary floor; and replacing the rectory plumbing and associated repairs. This summer, we are scheduled to update our electric service in the school, church and rectory ($225,000) and rebuild the Melvina Avenue parking lot (estimated cost: $125,000 to $150,000). Thanks to you, we have all the funds for these last two projects!
This year we are adjusting our priorities a bit. The main reason a church exists is for the reverent and loving worship of God. Our church is certainly beautiful to look at. However, we have one glaringly needed improvement. Our 1929 organ is just barely playable. Essentially, it’s dead.
With the support of the Finance Committee, I am asking that this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal rebate go towards a new organ for Saint Pascal Church. The estimated cost is $150,000. Our mandated amount for our part to the Archdiocese is $39,327. Anything over and above that amount comes right back to us. While we might not be able to accumulate all the funds necessary for a new organ, I think we can make great strides towards this goal. Your pledge to this year’s Appeal will make it happen!
Father Paul Seaman