Friday, February 13, 2015

Sixth Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

Our Journey of Stewardship Year One

Welcome to our new parishioners and visitors! If you can’t measure it you can’t change it. There is a story that went viral in parishes around the diocese last weekend about St. John Apostle & Evangelist on how well we performed in our Stewardship Commitment Renewal, October last year. Since I told the story to the clergy and laity last weekend, I stand here to share it with you. Apart from having a vision/mission driven timeline with intentional formation sessions on the spirituality of stewardship, Catholic Stewardship Consultants (CSC) provided us with the guidance and the materials we needed along the way. The purpose of the renewal weekend on October 18/19, 2014 was to engage all parishioners to commit themselves with their God-given gifts of time, talent and treasure. Stewardship is a way of life, but its impact can be measured. After our commitment renewal weekend, CSC put all the data together as published on page 6 of the February Newsletter distributed last weekend. Just in case you missed to notice that report, here is a brief outline on how we performed. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it.”

These are the result highlights based on 360 out of 1,035 active households in the parish. On the Stewardship of Time,

·        1,416 prayer commitments were made
·        91% of active households made prayer commitments.
·        258 Private Prayer Commitments. On the Stewardship of Talent,

·        1081 ministry commitments were made;
·        309 are new ministry commitments;
·        88 families signed up for ministries for first time. On the Stewardship of Treasure
·        286 households made a treasure commitment;
·        $213,824 pledged offertory increase;
·         There was a significant offertory increase of 9.15% during July/December 2014.

How does one explain these positive results? Growth in spiritual health through conversion leads to growth in generosity with God in time, talent and treasure. We started responding to God’s call for conversion on Ash Wednesday last year. That was a call to change and transformation at all levels of parish life: staff, leadership, liturgy and the way we run meetings. It was a call to align our vision, mission and purpose to that of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Transforming people one at a time is at the heart of God’s plan for the world.” I found myself undergoing my own conversion in order to give a credible message on the call to conversion. I realized that I had to register myself as a parishioner and give my weekly offertory. I now give more than 10% of my income, and I intend to honor my commitment.

We attribute the significant change in our parish above all to you parishioners for opening your hearts to the message of Jesus Christ inviting us during homilies and formation sessions to be more committed disciples and stewards. We had three significant moments of spiritual formation last year.
·        The Spirituality of Stewardship by Fr. Jim Golka in June;
·        Strategic Pastoral Planning by Fr. Frank DeSiano in July;
·        The parish-wide Stewardship Formation by Fr. Tim O’Connor in September. 
The Season of Lent last year was significant in terms of stewardship formation. Similarly, Advent and Christmas seasons were important to us on this journey. In Advent we focused our homilies on the book by Matthew Kelly, Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic that outlines four key aspects of stewardship: prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, each household received a free gift of the book. This book is a game-changer for me and I believe for you too.

We are called to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need not just in Hawaii, but in the world. Our parish second collection gives us an opportunity to participate in the universal mission of the Church. On page 7 of the February Newsletter you will find an outline of how much was collected and who benefited from our outreach efforts in 2014.

We need to be bold and creative; we need to think of ways of being truly a welcoming parish community from the parking lot to the pews. Hospitality is a good measure of stewardship as a way of life. Next Saturday February 21, we will have our parish town hall session to plan for the episcopal visitation of Bishop Larry Silva to our parish on June 20/21, 2015. That town hall meeting is an opportunity for all parishioners to be engaged in planning the future of our parish. Following that town hall, I will take the opportunity to prepare a bulletin insert on the steps taken so far in facilities planning, and especially where we are on plans for a multi-purpose parish hall. So stay tuned.

Thank you for your stewardship heart of giving time, talent and treasure. May our stewardship journey take us to the next level of stewardship as a way of life in 2015.

©2015 John Mbinda

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