The call of God's grace toward stewardship highlighted at annual renewal day

North Texas Catholic
(Mar 8, 2024) Local

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Rick Rodriguez, from St. Michael in Bedford, talks to Lanette Martinez-Vidaurn, from Our Mother of Mercy in Fort Worth, during the Diocesan Day of Stewardship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Arlington on Saturday, March 2, 2024. (NTC/Kevin Bartram)

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ARLINGTON — It's about discerning and filling the roles God calls us to play, St. Maria Goretti Church parishioner Rose Marie Gomez said toward the conclusion of the Diocese of Fort Worth's annual Diocesan Day of Stewardship.

“I'm uniquely me,” Gomez said. “All of you are uniquely you. That didn't just randomly happen. God created us. He took the time to do that, to bring us into our families, churches, and communities.”

Those unique gifts and qualities given by God to each individual lend themselves to stewardship's call of sharing one's time, talents, and treasures, Gomez added.

“All unique, but together we're the Body of Christ,” Gomez said. “If we remember to look for that in other people then, together, we build the Church.”

Gomez joined ministry leaders from 21 parishes on March 2 at Most Blessed Sacrament Church for fellowship and to hear Diocesan Vicar General Jonathan Wallis and Catholic Life and Faith founder Leisa Anslinger's thoughts on stewardship.

“Filled with His grace...Stewardship as a way of life,” served as the day's theme.

“What you all do in your parishes is incredibly important,” Diocese Stewardship and Parish Relations Director Wendy Collins told attendees. “So we wanted to take a little time this Lenten season to reflect and be together, hopefully in such a way that you can take something back to your own parish communities and in your own lives.”

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Dr. Darrell Hartley, from St. Catherine Siena in Carrollton, participates in the Diocesan Day of Stewardship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Arlington on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Hartley is a former Protestant Bishop. (NTC/Kevin Bartram)

Fr. Wallis shared his hopes in relation to stewardship for the day as well.

“Today can remind us that first and foremost God is the source and author of all things,” Fr. Wallis said. “Everything we have comes ultimately from Him and everything we have can be given back to Him in praise and thanksgiving.”

It's important too, Fr. Wallis told attendees, to look beyond the needs of their individual parishes to focus on the community, diocese, and Church as well.

“To remember our faith isn't about just fixing the roof at our parish,” Fr. Wallis said. “It's all of us together. That's how we're able to meet needs and encourage each other.”

Heeding the call to stewardship can be difficult, Fr. Wallis admitted, especially in today's society.

“In our modern society, people have learned how to monetize discouragement, doubt, hate, anger, and ill will,” Fr. Wallis said. “That's a really bad place to be.”

Fortunately, better options exist.

“Today is an opportunity for us to encourage each other in our faith in Jesus Christ, in the goodness of each other,” Fr. Wallis said. “To figure out how we can be in the midst of suffering and still be a blessing instead of passing that on. How can we experience difficulties, challenges, and problems but still be good and follow the example of our Lord?”

Leisa Anslinger
Leisa Anslinger speaks during the Diocesan Day of Stewardship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Arlington on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Anslinger is an author and founder of Catholic Life and Faith, a center for stewardship and servant leadership development. (NTC/Kevin Bartram)

Anslinger discussed the why, how, and what of effective stewardship.

Anslinger, in doing so, asked attendees to reflect on what they're intentionally doing as a Christian this Lenten season to grow closer to Christ and answer His stewardship call. Anslinger also asked attendees to share stories of how stewardship enhances their individual parishes.

“We share a certain purpose, a cause greater than ourselves,” Anslinger said. “We share a belief in our Lord and believe that belief calls us to a very particular way of life.”

It's important to remind ourselves of that from time to time, Anslinger said, so as not to fall into simply going through the motions on the personal or parish level.

God's call to stewardship is ever present if perhaps a bit more so during Lent, Anslinger said.

“Jesus sacrificed and gave all,” Anslinger said. “If we're going to follow Jesus that means we've got to be ready to sacrifice as well.

“It's important too to remember that Jesus' call is urgent. He does not call us to follow Him at some time in the future. But here and now in this moment in these circumstances.”

Trey Alley, director of development/communications at Denton's St. John Paul II Church, said the day provided useful information applicable to his parish's plans to form a stewardship committee.

Miles Henderson, a parishioner at Arlington's St. Matthew Church, shared Gomez' takeaway.

“Diversity is what gives our parishes strength,” Henderson said. “The more we share, the more we talk to each other, the more great things we're going to see for our parishes and the Church overall.”

Fr. Wallis agreed.

“This is the great joy,” Fr. Wallis said. “That we do not practice our faith as just a collection of individuals, but that God calls us into the Church to worship and serve the Lord together. Where He feeds us through His body and blood in the Eucharist so we're able to live our lives not just as a collection of individuals, but as the true Body of Christ.”

Diocese of Fort Worth, Advancement Foundation, Stewardship, Lent, trending-english