Article on Stewardship in the Bosconian

Here is a copy of the Article Fr. Marc wrote for the September 2011 Bosconian.

Just what is stewardship?  You might or might not know that there is a group in the parish who meet once a month to discuss how we might make this concept of stewardship part of the way we live our lives as Christians, and therefore as human beings.

 Stewardship is all about sharing your gifts, time and talents.  Usually, we don’t discover these things about ourselves until we have been placed in a situation where we feel we have gone beyond our ‘comfort zone’

 Being an extreme introvert, I don’t think for example that I would ever have discovered that for some reason or other I seem to be able to communicate ideas well; I just never would have allowed myself to be in a situation like that. But, I didn’t realise I was an introvert until well after becoming a Salesian and a priest.  I think that was God’s perverse sense of humour!

 Anyway, have you ever noticed things about yourself that you didn’t think were ‘you’ but that are affirmed of you by other people through their feedback to you.

 I would imagine that the only way you would have discovered untapped parenting skills or relationship skills until you actually found yourself in the situation of having to raise children or be a spouse.

 Stewardship is about these sorts of gifts that are given to us by the grace of God.  It may well be a wonderful way of handling people who are in conflict. It could be a delight in providing hospitality. It may be a whole host of things that just come to you naturally and often you are left wondering why it is that not everybody ‘just’ has these abilities.

 The Stewardship Group was established to help members of the parish community to first of all discover these gifts and then find ways of putting them to use in the parish and wider community.

 One little effort at this has been providing the opportunity for people to come forward as welcomers at the different parish masses; people who have the time to come a bit earlier and stand outside the church, hand out the bulletins and say hello to people. 

 Since I have been doing it, I am sure I have been able to come into contact with people I would not otherwise have met.

 After all it is through striking up conversations with people the community grows.

 Another effort of the group, which is an ongoing one, is to draw up a list of all the what I am sure is hundreds of people who already go out of their way to volunteer their time and talents to the parish community. Later on in the year, this list of names will be placed on the altar at the various Masses over a weekend in thanks to God for the gifts he gives to people.

 This is in no way to disparage those who for some reason or other do not have the time or the opportunity to do so. I am sure that there are those who do their very best by just turning up for Mass and contributing to the collection.

 However, there might also be people who need just a little encouragement to realise that there are all sorts of ways; and very practical ways, that they can make the Bosco Community what it is and will continue to be.

 There is the very kind parishioner, for example, who comes to offer her talents at entering names in a beautiful handwriting for the Golden Book. There are the ladies who clean the church at Engadine each week. There are those who make rosary beads – and often just one stage in the process.

 There are those who have the gift of sitting in silence with the Lord. I am sure many of our golden oldies at JPV and throughout the parish who, like Mary [Martha’s sister] bring the beauty of a contemplative spirit to the parish in their later years.

 And so on and so on...

 It is the Stewardship Groups task to encourage people to do all these things as well as to praise and support them in their generosity.

 As Kahlil Gibran, the middle eastern Christian writer, has to say:  You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

 You can contact me, Fr. Marc if you have any questions. I would like to direct you to the parish website. On the homepage, down the bottom there is a grid with the parish groups in it. In the “Leadership and Structure” section of the grid you will find the Stewardship link. Just click on that and see some information about the group.