As a parishioner for over 40 years, I feel very comfortable speaking with fellow parishioners about sharing their time and talent in things like the Alpha program or one of our various awesome ministries that we will honor later in the month of June. In fact, I enjoy helping people find their “niche” within the parish when they approach me about how to get more involved. Talking about the sharing of treasure, on the other hand, is not something I’ve had a lot of experience in…or have much comfort with! As I sat to write this bulletin article, it actually started out as a piece about my daughter’s upcoming wedding (June 8th) and how that Sacrament mirrors our own being a “bride” of Christ. But, as so often happens, when one picks up a pen (or computer!) to write something for the bulletin, the Holy Spirit has His way of directing the topic…if we’re open to it! So, all of a sudden, I found myself writing about treasure.
As I prepped myself to write about “giving,” I ran across some thoughts from Steve Shadrach, author of The God Ask. He mentions that when you consider asking people to give, the “bottom line” is this: “Satan will whisper in your ear, “People are busy. They don’t want to give. Times are tough. Leave them alone. Don’t ask.” Instead listen to Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
And, having seen the generosity of our parish for over 40 years, I can say that these words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” hold so true for our St. John Parishioners! It seems that every time our parish needs are presented, they are met: from our “Thank You, Fr. Murray” fund that wiped out our debt a few years back, to our wonderful response to Witness to Hope pledges, to our outreach to the Bihl family, we have always stepped up. These very recent outpourings of love and sharing of treasure show who we are! Even since this past weekend, when Fr. Chas encouraged us to get to $100,000 for DSA…this very next weekend, we’re there!
Another case in point is demonstrated in our recent offertory givings. Since Fr. Chas’ 5-4-1 Generosity Challenge homily in March, notice how we are steadily making up the offertory shortfall for this fiscal year, going from close to $50,000 under budget for offertory to right around $20,000 below budget as of this weekend. And we still have the month of June to improve this even further! Time and time again, the parishioners of St. John work to maintain and move forward the wonderful buildings, projects, and mission of our Catholic faith and parish. The 5-4-1 Challenge is underway! Thank you to those 312 parishioners who have already made a weekly offertory pledge (please see our acknowledgement on pages 4-6 of the bulletin). If you haven’t already pledged, I invite you to help us reach the 500 pledge mark! Doing so, and maintaining the $49 weekly offertory pledge average, will help us ensure that we have the funds needed to cover our operating costs for this next fiscal year! We’ve been encouraged to “dive into the deep”…let’s do it!