Stewardship leads to lives transformed by Christ
GRAPEVINE — The word “stewardship” in the Catholic Church might make us think of giving money or giving our time at Church functions, but stewardship should impact every facet in the lives of those who follow Christ, according to local Catholics who attended the Diocese of Fort Worth's Stewardship Day Oct. 17.
About 40 parishioners, priests, and parish and diocesan staff members attended a day of focused learning on stewardship at St. Francis of Assisi in Grapevine. Many of the people who attended are part of stewardship committees at their home parish, said organizer Renee Underwood, Associate Director of the Advancement Foundation, the organization that manages and supports charitable giving in the Fort Worth diocese.
“They really have a heart for stewardship and want to grow and share that with others,” Underwood said.
Lindon Leners, a parishioner at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Carrollton, said, “Stewardship is not about money but about engagement. If you have engagement, the money will come.”
Melissa McGuire, another stewardship volunteer at St. Catherine of Siena, said that their committee was still in the early stages of learning more about stewardship.
“We’re working on a big picture understanding and getting past the time, talent, and treasure dimension. It’s everything in life,” McGuire said.
Lessons on stewardship were presented by Tracy Earl Welliver, a Catholic author, teacher, blogger, and stewardship coach. Welliver is the author of Everyday Stewardship and a member of Saint Pius X Parish in Greensboro, N.C.
“Being a disciple of Jesus Christ leads naturally to the practice of stewardship,” Welliver said. “Stewardship is an expression of discipleship with the power to change us to become mature in our faith.”
Dustin Doversberger, a parishioner at St. Philip the Apostle in Lewisville, said he appreciated the opportunity to reinvigorate his own stewardship, to get ideas from others, and to share struggles.
Donna Campbell and Diane Kain, both parishioners at Good Shepherd Church in Colleyville, said the conference was motivating them to help people in their parish discover their spiritual gifts.
Kain said, “We have a vibrant parish with a lot of people — from teens to retired seniors — who want to serve.”
A spiritual gifts inventory would help them place those who want to serve into ministries that fit their talents, Kain said.
Welliver is a trained Gallup Strengths coach and talked to participants about the importance of helping people find their unique gifts and how to use those gifts in the Church community.
“God’s call is always more easily discerned in community with others,” he said.
Welliver also challenged the group to be more open about their Catholic faith in their daily life.
One of the questions he asked participants was how would society benefit from having more Catholics “bringing their faith out of the shadows and into the mainstream.”
Welliver said, “There are not enough people in the mainstream saying the truth about Christ, and our society suffers greatly for it.”
Attendees talked about ways to impact society, like reaching out to those who are hurting and making the Catholic vote matter.
Welliver said that more Catholics should focus on spiritual growth and becoming mature in their faith. Some practical ways to grow include frequent participation in sacraments, such as the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and talking to others about Jesus Christ.
“It’s the difference between having your faith in a box that comes out on Sunday and having a lens of faith on your whole life,” Welliver said.
Several parishioners said they were inspired by what they learned.
Annette Lee, of St. Michael Parish in Bedford, said, “Stewardship should lead to a transformed way of life. When people start to give of themselves sacrificially, others will naturally take notice.”
During Lent, the Advancement Foundation will host a stewardship event open to everyone in the diocese, the Diocesan Day of Renewal on March 7 with Bishop Michael F. Olson.