Each one of us has received a gift; use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Peter 4:10).

Cover-1jpgWe all have a gifts from God. A stewardship way of life recognizes that we have a duty to accept our gifts and use them to bless the lives of others. The USCCB pastoral letter on stewardship affirms: “The Christian steward is one who receives God's gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends to them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.” At Saint Elizabeth Church, stewardship is a core component of our parish mission and the heart of parish life. As we recite our Parish Stewardship Prayer at Mass, we reflect that we are called to be the stewards of the gifts that God has entrusted to us.

The Stewardship Council has led a multi-phased journey to encourage all parishioners to renew their call to stewardship. The Living Beyond Sunday: Growing, Praying and Serving (GPS) program emphasizes that many stewardship opportunities exist well beyond Sunday, both within and beyond our parish community.

“Stewardship can happen any time, not just on Sundays, and in any community, not just within Saint Elizabeth,” said Deb Romich, who serves as a member of the Stewardship Council. “You can be a steward of God’s gifts by giving blood, coaching a team, or getting involved in a community group. At Saint Elizabeth, stewardship service comes in many different forms, such as the various liturgical ministries, teaching children by becoming a catechist for the Elementary Faith Formation Program, or cooking a casserole for St. John’s Hospice (among many others). We encourage all parishioners to grow their stewardship.”Cover-2jpg

The GPS program consists of three key phases: Growing, Praying and Serving. Each phase has a specific focus to nurture our lives as Catholic stewards. During the Growing phase, we were called to ask ourselves How is stewardship a part of my life? During the Praying phase, we asked that the Holy Spirit guide us through our stewardship journey. Currently, in the Serving phase, we are challenged to extend our service to others in new ways.

Deb went on to say, “As a steward, you may feel called to work on one team, such as the Finance Council, and when your term is complete decide you need to feed your soul in a new way and get involved with the Sister Parish, Creation Care or Interfaith Action teams. We all have spiritual gifts that we nurture at different times in our lives and everyone is called to use their gifts for the benefit of others. Many times, our gifts of stewardship extend outside our parish to the local community and beyond.”

As a thank you to our many stewardship volunteers, the Stewardship Council is also highlighting the ways that parishioners have practiced stewardship through various ministries. Parishioner Jen Cook, who is on the Stewardship Council Recognition sub-committee said: “We are committed to finding ways to recognize the many parishioners who give their time and talent so readily and selflessly. The team kicked off their efforts in March with a Mass and a blessing for stewardship volunteers, followed by a wine and cheese appreciation event. The reception was open to all parishioners who have ever served at Saint Elizabeth and was well attended! To continue recognition throughout the year, a group of ministries is being highlighted each month and their contributions will be recognized through various channels like Facebook, the parish website, Flocknote, the weekly bulletin and pulpit announcements. Our team is excited about the possibility of another event for active stewards in the fall, so stay tuned!”

Cover-3jpgA terrific example of stewardship in action was the 10th annual Stewardship Day of Service (SDOS) in April.  More than 100 parishioners of all ages spent the day sharing their time and talents with non-profit community organizations such as the Lord’s Pantry in Downingtown, the West Chester Senior Center and the ARC of Chester County, among others. “Our Stewardship Day of Service is a wonderful example of how our parishioners live beyond Sunday,” noted Anne Tymon, member of the SDOS Planning Team. “Volunteers went beyond Sunday worship in church and practiced stewardship in our neighborhoods, putting their faith into action by serving the needs of those less fortunate. It is very apparent how much the agencies appreciate the work accomplished by parishioners. I think everyone who participated was enriched as well, knowing they made a difference.”

Stewardship is truly faith in action. It is important to ask ourselves: How are we living beyond Sunday? How can we use the gifts God has given us to serve others? Stewardship is something that is open to all people, of any age or place in life. There is so much we can do, starting at our parish but extending well into the community at large.Cover-4jpg

To follow the Living Beyond Sunday GPS program throughout the year, visit the parish website homepage for updates and opportunities to put your gifts into action.

Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered (Proverbs 11:25).

-Julie Krumenacker