Since the fall of 2019, the Living Beyond Sunday: GPS theme has helped Saint Elizabeth parishioners strengthen our commitment to a stewardship way of life through a multi-focused campaign of Growing, Praying and Serving. At its core, Living Beyond Sunday: GPS invites the parish at large to recognize that stewardship is not just a Sunday activity, but rather a daily way of life to best utilize the gifts bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father. "As Catholic believers, it is our responsibility to receive and nurture these gifts, and then share them abundantly with others in charity and love," says Deb Romich, who has served on the Parish Stewardship Council for a number of years.

As the council prepared to engage our parish in the third focus of the three-phase campaign (Serving), it found inspiration from Saint Teresa of Calcutta who said, "Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love." So while serving others is a tangible way to see our faith in motion, Saint Teresa also recognizes that meaningful acts aren't always part of a large, organized effort.

Moving forward in that spirit, the Stewardship Council identified opportunities where we, as individuals, can grow in our desire to serve others during 2021. Calling or writing a note to a relative who is shut in due to COVID, donating blood, preparing a meal for someone, completing yard work for the homebound, driving someone to a doctor's appointment or participating in a business or work sponsored charity event - these are just some of the ways we may (already!) practice daily stewardship. Stewardship Council member Jo Ann McNamee encourages us not only to draw on our own personal interests but also to let prayer guide how we can individually serve others. "Our spiritual growth is just as important when it comes to stewardship," she says. "It allows service to become a natural and intuitive part of our everyday relationship with God and others."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stewardship Day of Service (SDOS) team was unable to conduct its annual day of service this spring. In response, the SDOS team designed a new program named Serving Our Community (SOC), rooted in the Stewardship Council’s focus upon the serving component of Living Beyond Sunday, to provide opportunities for our parishioners to serve others in our daily lives. “Recognizing that area agencies still have a need for volunteers, we designed a new series of service opportunities that can be completed by small family units and/or socially distant groups,” says Anne Tymon, Serving Our Community team member. The redesigned program enables parishioners to participate in service opportunities more frequently and conveniently. “Since we launched the SOC program this spring, agencies have already expressed how thrilled they are to have help again and are excited that we are able to provide support throughout the year,” says Anne.

This year, look for the Stewardship Council's suggested service ideas sprinkled throughout the weekly bulletin or via the parish's social media pages. "Not every gesture has to be profound for it to be impactful," says Deb. "If we lean on the Holy Spirit--our spiritual GPS--to guide us, we can take many of the same gifts that helped personally sustain us during a challenging year and offer them up in humble service to others."

- Amy Giampietro

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Reflecting on 2020 Stewardship Service at Saint Elizabeth

Even during the pandemic, our parish community found ways to fulfill its stewardship role by adapting its service-oriented ministries to safely operate in a COVID environment. Some implemented car lines for collections/drop offs, while others moved to a Zoom-only format. By the numbers, we still accomplished a lot including:

  • 1,635 casseroles collected for the clients of St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia
  • 287 crafted items (blankets, hats, scarfs) and 200 rosaries made (which Fr. Kevin took to Nigeria)
  • 700 Giving Tree gifts donated and distributed
  • 49 volunteers working with the Good Works Home Repair Ministry
  • $18,998.76 donated to organizations that receive assistance through our parish Poor Box collections