The fact we are Catholic is not only manifested in the beauty of our churches; it is in our daily living as generous stewards. I invite you to consider the ways in which you make room for God in your life through your personal, ongoing faith formation; by your active charitable works; and by personal prayer and active participation in Mass. T
Be not afraid to give yourself to Christ by being a generous steward. You will not regret it.
Most Rev. W. Shawn McKnight, S.TD.
Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City
What is Stewardship
What identifies a steward? Safeguarding material and human resources and using them responsibly are one answer; so is generous giving of time, talent, and treasure. But being a Christian steward means more. As Christian stewards, we receive God's gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.
We plant seeds, knowing they hold hope for the future. We lay foundations, knowing much building must follow. There is a sense of liberation, however, in realizing this. We can do something, and we can do it very well. We can take the first step in making a difference, knowing that we may never see the end of the road, the results of our actions, the recipients of our giving. We receive and offer the gift of hope. The harvest will come.
Many of our days are spent "growing dirt," preparing the soil for future plantings. That is an act of hope. We know we are only workers, not the Master Gardner. Accepting the gifts of silence, light, the guiding Spirit and hope, we are co-creators of the future, which is in God's hands.
Pillars of Stewardship
The four pillars of stewardship are Hospitality, Prayer, Formation and Service. These pillars invite parishioners to experience, witness and live the stewardship way of life in response to their baptismal call to discipleship. Each baptized person is called to give of time, talent and treasure to strengthen these four pillars that support the parish community – your parish community.
"Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels."
We strive to make every parishioner and guest feel welcomed and appreciated in our parishes. We are one body – one community in Christ. The Pillar of Hospitality brings parishioners together through social activities to foster fellowship and strengthen our union as a parish and with God. These activities help build relationships and encourage involvement in our parish ministries and service opportunities. In turn, Catholics grow in their faith and desire to evangelize and extend the same hospitality to those outside of our own community.
"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God."
Prayer brings us closer to God. Spending time with God in prayer is part of being a Christian steward. Through prayer, Christian stewards place themselves in God's hands so He can direct their hands to serve according to His will. It is through prayer and participation in the Mass that we learn to recognize, receive, accept and share God's grace and giftedness in love of God and neighbor.
"I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go."
To grow as Christian stewards, all Catholics, young and old, must receive ongoing education (formation) in the faith. An understanding of stewardship is essential to bringing us closer to God because stewardship leads us to holiness. Formation of each individual becomes part of the formation of the parish community. As members of the Body of Christ, the parish recognizes it has a call from God to give and share His giftedness. Inherent within each individual is the need to give – to move from selflessness. Formation helps ignite and inspire a life-long journey of conversion. As on grows more deeply in formation, the more deeply one loves as God loves us. This is true for the individual steward and for the stewardship parish; as individuals grow in God, so too does the entire parish.
"If I, therefore, the Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."
We strive to be servant ministers to the needs of our parish members, the wider community and Church. We strive to serve compassionately those who are hurting or in need, lost or alone, or suffering in any way. We give thanks to God for all the gifts we have received, and we celebrate the special events in the lives of parishioners.
"As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace."