Dear Parish Family,
An important component to our Lenten journey is reflecting upon the stewardship of all with which we have been blessed. I am so pleased and proud of your response in these last two months after our parish’s Sunday offertory was behind budget approaching this last Christmas. You recognized the need, and your generosity has our offertory (which is what allows us to do the work of Christ’s mission) back in the black for the year thus far! THANK YOU! The healing and liberating Good News of Jesus Christ is what our hurting world needs, and the people of Jackson can find that here as they enter the welcoming doors of St. John and St. Joseph Churches and St. John School!
Speaking of our churches and school, you will notice in this bulletin how our Director of Parish Operations, Bill Mitch, lists most of the extensive capital projects that are needed to maintain, repair, restore, and beautify our various buildings. We have a number of big-ticket items coming up that, for the safety and upkeep of our structures, cannot wait much longer. A couple of the repairs, if not completed, will compromise the structural integrity of our buildings, such as the need for a new roof on our school.
The big challenge, however, is being able to afford all of the repair and restoration work necessary for our churches and school listed in these pages (though we hope the school’s sesquicentennial celebration may assist with the school’s capital projects). Due to a potential diocesan campaign for Catholic education in the near future, we are currently not allowed to do a separate parish capital campaign, which means we need to rely on our parishioners’ regular tithing contributions throughout the year. This is why we are emphasizing in particular the 4% of our 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge, which is the portion that goes to our Capital Expenditures Fund and St. John Church Restoration and Beautification Fund (if you so desire, you can choose to which of the two funds your contributions apply).
What is the Difference between Tithing and Almsgiving?
Bishop Boyea answered this question in one of his “Disciples Together on the Way” videos. He said, “It should be clarified that almsgiving is different from tithing. Tithing is offering God the first fruits of our labor…giving a regular percentage of our earnings to God and the Church. It is fulfilling our duty to God and His Church. Almsgiving is charitable giving above and beyond our regular tithe.”
The word “tithe” comes from an Old English word meaning “tenth,” the traditional percentage of our income to be contributed. Our 5-4-1 model recommends how that tenth is divided: 5% for our Sunday offertory (for the work of mission here in Jackson), 4% for our capital expenditures (for the building up of the Kingdom of God), and our Diocesan Services Appeal (for the myriad of ministries and charities that serve our region). As you discern your tithing and incorporating the 4% pledge, please do not lessen your 5% Sunday offertory pledge; our work of mission both at the church and the school absolutely depend on that support.
My Invitation – Trust Him with Everything!
With the Witness to Hope campaign having ended last year and no capital campaign currently underway, I invite and encourage you to begin, if you haven’t already, the practice of being faithful to the 4% of our 5-4-1 model of tithing. Indeed, I beg of you to do so, as our campuses that are at the service of God’s kingdom are in dire need of the funds to keep our structures sound and our buildings beautiful! Even if 400 of us regular contributors gave just $50 a month towards capital expenditures, that would be $240,000!
As past generations have done so for us, may we continue that long tradition and honor of being the stewards of the Mother Church of Jackson! Most of all, however, I invite you to faithfully tithe as a concrete expression of your trust in God and of the recognition that Jesus Christ is truly Lord of your life.
Fr. Chas Canoy
17th Pastor of St. John Parish