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Annual Diocesan Evangelization and Stewardship Day

For several years the Diocese of Rochester has held an annual Stewardship day with a featured speaker.  This year it was a combined theme of Evangelization and Stewardship with a guest speaker.  The New Evangelization calls us to learn more about our faith.  Our understanding of how our call to be good Christian Disciples should include an understanding of stewardship.  To be a good steward is to recognize the gifts God has given us and how we are called to use these gifts to help other people (Matthew 10:8 – “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”)

Sr. Donna Ciangio, O.P. spoke of the importance of knowing who we are and what we are called to be.  If we seek to invite others to join our church and/or become active participants, we need to know what we are inviting them to.  The most basic question is ‘what is our mission?’

Here is where a mission statement can be helpful.  Ultimately, our mission to help people develop and deepen their relationship with Jesus.  We need to think in terms of how our ministries fit our mission.  If we don’t have a mission statement, how do we agree on what is the point of our ministry?  That is the point of a mission statement.

Sr. Donna spoke of three types of parishioners, those who are engaged in parish activities, those not engaged, and those who are actively disengaged.  People in all three categories attend church.  Many of them may attend parish events.  When we use the term “engaged”, we are referring to those who don’t just show up at Mass and church events but are part of helping making the events happen and/or see it as an opportunity to deepen our own relationship with Jesus.

Sr. Donna also spoke of the importance of a ‘Welcome Ministry’ to help the people feel welcomed and help them find a place for themselves in the parish.  We need to help them see how our faith is relevant today and how we can put our faith into practice.  I think back to an online conference I attended a few years ago.  There it was said that we help people see how our faith is still relevant today and enter in to a deeper relationship with Jesus.  Then in turn these people will not simply be willing to help with parish activities but will actually want to live and share their faith.

What does our Catholic faith mean to you?  Does our faith motivate you to share it with others?  What do you need to do to deepen your personal relationship with Jesus?


Fr. Jeff


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