Pastor’s Letter :: September 10, 2017
A Letter from Our Pastor
As I was visiting the playground the other day, I saw a group of children praying in the Mary Garden. Their faith was a beautiful witness to me, and reminds me of the verse in Matthew 19 when Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” I do not know what they were praying about, but it was heartwarming to see them turn to God and to Mary. We can learn a lot from these children, whose faith leads them to give of themselves through stewardship.
Our Parish Mission Statement is to “Go and Make Disciples!”, and stewardship is the action we take in response to Jesus’ call to follow him as disciples. Stewardship is rooted in gratitude for the unique gifts that God has given to each of us, and leads us to share these gifts with others out of love.
We’ve been a stewardship parish since 1979, and the four pillars of stewardship–Prayer, Formation, Service, and Hospitality—provide many illustrations of the vibrancy of our faith community. I am delighted to see parishioners give of their time to know God better through prayer and formation.
For example, this year we continue to increase the number of adults and families who commit some time each week to prayer in our Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I am similarly inspired by some of the fruit of our formation program; we welcomed 12 adults into the Church at Easter, baptized 134 infants, saw the Confirmation of 134 students, and 123 students received their first Holy Communion.
Our Parish Mission Statement is to “Go and Make Disciples!” and stewardship is the action we take in response to Jesus’ call to follow him as disciples.
Moreover, I am incredibly thankful for all the ways the stewards of our parish have used their talents to serve God and others over the past year. We are blessed with nearly 100 active ministries, each fulfilling a different need, and parishioners have given countless hours to serve within the church, school, religious formation programs, and in different community organizations.
Be sure to check out our feature articles in this Annual Report that showcase the wonderful service of but a few of our parishioners involved in the Secret Kindness Agents, Legion of Mary, and a Prison Bible Study. This just scratches the surface on the incredible stewardship in our parish.
I am also pleased to report some noteworthy successes in our parish’s stewardship of treasure. This year, we were able to fully pay off the Pave the Way construction loan, which was originally $280,000. Our contributions will now go toward energy efficient air-conditioning units in Phase 3 of this project, and we’ll move forward once we have half of the money needed.
Additionally, we saw our St. Columbkille Educational Trust grow to be over $1 million. This fund allows us to give out $20,000 every year in tuition assistance, $2,100 for preschool tuition assistance, $2,000 for youth ministry to participate in the National Catholic Youth Conference, and $4,500 to support many worthy activities within our Religious Education Office. As you read the financial report in this issue, you will see that our parishioners are very generous to a wide variety of worthy causes such as donating to our FOCUS missionaries, Habitat for Humanity, and the Essential Pregnancy Services Baby Bottle Drive.
In closing, I want to briefly touch on a final pillar of stewardship: Hospitality. A friend of mine by the name of Fr. John Pietramale, the Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes – Adalbert’s, told me he recently went to a Protestant Church on a Sunday morning where he was welcomed and greeted at least 20 times by staff, the minister, and parishioners. I know St. Columbkille is a warm and welcoming community, but I also know we can do more!
We are moving towards the day when everyone who walks through the doors of our church will be welcomed as Christ and as a faith community we will be seeking to deepen our commitment to stewardship as a way of life in which we gratefully and lovingly share from our God-given gifts of time, talent, and treasure. How can each of us use our gifts to love and praise God?
Thank you for your ongoing support, and for being children of God who make the culture of stewardship thrive at St. Columbkille!