Introduction to Stewardship

01-06-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

I would like to state upfront that stewardship is not about asking for money as it has often been misunderstood to be. It is much more than that. But before I get into what it is, allow me to share something briefly about my African heritage.

Growing up in rural Northern Uganda, one of the memories that still come vividly to my mind and which I still cherish, was how young men in my village often came together to construct a hut for one of them who declared an intention to get married.

Those who had special skills of roofing came forth and played their part while those who had the gift of strength carried the heavy logs for the wall structures and those who had skills in building the walls did just that. Even those gifted with storytelling and cracking jokes kept those working amused and entertained with their jokes while they worked. In short, everyone showed up and gave their time and offered whatever gifts they had and in a very short time they built a house for their peer at no charge. This is because it was understood that all those gifts each one had was meant to be used for the benefit of the community and in the service of its members and no gift was despised. So, no one was allowed to withhold any skills they had whenever and wherever they were needed in the community. This was called the “Oya spirit” in my local language.

When later on I came across the concept of Stewardship I was fascinated by its similarity with what I grew up practicing without knowing it and therefore it appealed to me instantly and became one of the approaches I adopted in leading my parishes wherever I was assigned as pastor in the past. That is why, in my end of year message, I indicated to you that this year similarly, I will be focusing on strengthening our sense of stewardship and making it a way of life here in our parish. So, over the next few months you will see and hear announcements explaining what Stewardship means here at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and how you can be involved in our community, ways you can pray with our community, and how you can give to and connect with the OLMC community.

But before we delve deeper in doing all those things, it is important to correctly understand what stewardship is. Understood correctly, stewardship is our recognition that whatever we have is a gift from God meant to be received gratefully, developed diligently with increase, and shared generously with our neighbors. We do this practically by intentionally and consistently offering of our time, talent, and treasure to God through our parish community. In the coming months, I will be writing articles to you on aspects of this in addition to making announcements and homilies on stewardship.

As a prelude to launching stewardship fully as a way of life here at our parish however, we will be having a parish census sometime in the month of February 2024, followed by a stewardship report and a ministry fair. My hope is that in this process you will continue to find a place here at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel where you are able to Pray, Serve, Give and Connect with our community with the ultimate goal of leading each other to heaven. In the next articles, I will share some more thoughts on these four Pillars typical to our parish: Pray, Serve, Give and Connect. We will begin with the stewardship of prayer, so watch this space!

I love you!