Friday, April 19, 2024

Stewardship in Times of Crisis

While the doors to our churches may be closed, the virtual doors to our church, and our faith, are open. Our parishes have stepped up to the challenge and have become places to gather via social media, to reach out to others in need and become closer to God while keeping our social distances.
Many of our parishes are streaming Mass or the Stations of the Cross on Facebook or on the parish website. Some have engaged volunteers to pray for the needs of parishioners through prayer chains. Other parishes are working to identify volunteers to help community agencies deliver meals to those who can’t get out or place a phone call to older parishioners to check on them and offer friendly “human contact” during these times of social distancing. Those who are able may be asked to increase their giving to allow the parish to survive and thrive when this crisis is over. Our dedicated religious education instructors and the faculty at our Catholic schools continue to teach our students in new and creative ways.
What is a constant through these challenging times is the common denominator of our faith. We are called to reach out to those in need, and while we can’t physically be present, we certainly do our part virtually. I’m continually impressed by the resourcefulness our parishes have displayed, the talent of our incredible teachers and volunteers, the unwavering faith of so many dedicated souls and the generosity of the faithful to support those in need.
Despite the unknowns – how long will this last, when will we be able to return to work, or attend Mass again – I am reminded of how blessed I am. Recognizing our respective gifts and talents during a crisis, when we are only thinking about how our lives have been changed, helps focus our attention on others and helps direct us in ways that have positive impacts.
Stewardship, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. The idea of stewardship during times of crisis is a difficult one to comprehend. Our daily lives have been upended. Many of us are working from home, and while the idea may have been exciting at first, it has proven to be more of a challenge each day. What were easy tasks in the office have turned into more difficult and time consuming exercises.
I believe that God is asking each of us during this time to examine our own gifts and talents to see where we can help. For some, it may be volunteering to assist neighbors, friends or other parishioners. For others, it may be lending our expertise of technology and helping our parishes reach those who are craving the spiritual content which we so sorely need. Just as we have been given different gifts, our individual responses will be different but, collectively, we will get through this. I ask you to continue to pray for our Diocese, our Bishop and our dedicated priests and deacons. It is my prayer that when we are able to gather again, our churches will be full with grateful hearts, fully cognizant that we have been good stewards of the gifts we have received. We will indeed hear God’s voice telling us “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21.)
(Kim Roche is the Director of the Diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.)
By Kim Roche, Special to The Witness

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