The Decision is Ours

THE DECISION IS OURS                                                                                      

Ultimately, stewardship comes down to personal decisions about how each of us lives out our commitment to discipleship and how each of us will respond to God’s gifts based on our experience, self-knowledge and the call of God’s grace. There is the paradoxical truth, hallowed in the New Testament, that by giving ourselves to someone or something beyond ourselves, we discover our own best self: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 10:39). Living as Christian stewards should bring a deeper and greater joy, and confidence about being disciples. Though Christians have not seen Christ, they are assured, by a faith truly lived and generously practiced, the joy, the peace and the life that comes to those who dare to believe and trust in Christ, our Lord.
ICSC on Stewardship 2017

“In truth I say to you, whatever you did to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me”
(Matt 25:40)

Stewardship Saint for November

STEWARDSHIP SAINT FOR NOVEMBER: SAINT ROQUE GONZALEZ DE SANTA CRUZ

In 1609, attracted to the evangelizing activities of the Jesuits, Father Roque entered the order and began his own evangelizing ministry as a missionary in a vast region of South America where today the countries of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay intersect. He would spend the next two decades searching for indigenous peoples, gaining their trust and showing them how to improve their lives by settling them into organized communities protected from slave traders. He then converted them to Christianity. The written records of his extraordinary accomplishments as a missionary and explorer still exist.

At a time when Spanish conquistadors were brutalizing and enslaving natives, Father Roque helped them become self-sufficient and free. In 1613 he established his first native settlement, and spearheaded the Jesuit-movement to establish what came to be called “reductions,” independent Indian village communities that were off limits to slave traders.

The economy of these villages made the Indians self-supporting by combining communal agriculture with private property holding. And the villages had their own political structure that gave the natives a measure of freedom. Father Roque was an innovator who created the model for these unique communities.

Father Roque’s creative evangelizing ministry not only made Christianity attractive to the natives of the region, it even got the attention of such European intellectuals as Voltaire who, singularly impressed with Father Roque’s ministry, wrote:

The Paraguayan missions reached the highest degree of civilization to which it is possible to lead a young people. In those missions, law was respected, morals were pure, a happy brotherliness bound men together, the useful arts and even some of the more graceful sciences flourished, and there was abundance everywhere.

Not everyone embraced his model of evangelizing though. In 1628, Father Roque, joined by two other Jesuits who would later become saints themselves, Saint Juan del Castillo, SJ and Saint Alonso Rodríguez, SJ, established a mission that roused the hostility of a local chieftain. In November 1628, Father Roque and his Jesuit companions were tortured and killed.

“All the Christians among my countrymen loved the Father and grieved for his death because he was the father of all our Indian communities along the Paraná River” so testified Chief Guarecupi after Father Roque’s assassination. The chief’s testimony revealed a deep affection by the indigenous people for Father Roque and their awareness of the great personal sacrifices he had made over two decades to improve their lives and bring them to Christ.

Father Roque was canonized by Saint John Paul II in 1988. His feast day is November 17.

Stewardship Saint of the Month

STEWARDSHIP SAINT FOR OCTOBER: SAINT ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ

 

Alphonsus Rodriguez was a Spanish Jesuit lay brother whose assignment for 45 years was being a doorkeeper at one of its colleges. One observer noted that Alphonsus carried out this simple task with such loving hospitality that the act of opening the college door became a “sacramental gesture.”

 

Born in Segovia, Spain in 1533, Alphonsus was the child of a prosperous wool merchant. His father died when he was 14 and he left school to help his mother run the family business. He inherited the business when he was only 23 years old and at the age of 26 he married María Suarez, with whom he had three children. By the time he was 31, though, he found himself a widower who had not only lost his wife, but his mother and two of his children as well.

 

Alphonsus sold his business and began living a life of prayer and simplicity. When his third child died, his thoughts turned to living in a religious community. He wanted to become a Jesuit but was rejected for his lack of formal education. In 1571 he applied a second time and was accepted as a lay brother. At age 40 he was sent to the recently established college on Spain’s Mediterranean island of Majorca and was assigned the humble position of porter, a doorkeeper.

 

His daily responsibilities for the next 45 years included receiving visitors who came to the college, searching for the college staff or students who were wanted in the parlor, delivering messages, running errands and distributing alms to the needy. He would, however, transform this humble station into a ministry of hospitality and spiritual guidance.

 

Alphonsus exercised a marvelous influence not only on the members of the college community, but upon a great number of people who came to him for advice. His reputation for holiness grew and people began going to him for spiritual direction. Saint Peter Claver, while a student at the college, was one of them. It was Alphonsus who inspired Claver to become a missionary in the New World.

 

Alphonsus once wrote that each time the bell at the front door rang he looked at the door and envisioned that it was God who was standing outside seeking admittance. He died on October 31, 1617 and in 1633 local officials declared him patron saint of Majorca. In 1888 he was canonized a saint and the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins memorialized him in a sonnet. His feast day is October 31.

 

Sharing and Study

Through Ongoing Faith Formation

  • I will read the biography of a saint this year.
  • I will read one of the four sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church this year.
  • Attend one adult faith program in my parish.
  • Read something Pope Francis has written.
  • Read a classic Catholic book.
  • Subscribe to a Catholic newspaper/periodical.
  • Read one of the documents of Vatican II.
  • Read something written by one of the early church Fathers.
  • Study about one virtue, commandment or beatitude this year.
  • Share what you have learned with family and friends.
  • Spread the JOY of the Gospel.

Service

 

Through Loving Service

  • Do something kind for another each week.
  • Pray for religious vocations and for all who serve the Church in religious life.
  • Pray for the sick and dying, perhaps send a card.
  • Visit a nursing home and prayerfully adopt a resident.
  • Provide or serve food at funeral lunches.
  • Practice self-denial in some way each week and give what you save to charity.
  • Clean out your closet and give away the excess.
  • Pray for the pope's intention each month.
  • Donate something each month to a food bank.
  • Pray monthly for those who are incarcerated.
  • Welcome newcomers to your parish and town.
  • Volunteer for parish events and activities.
  • Pray for the Unborn, Spiritually Adopt an Unborn Child.
  • Spend quality time with your family and friends.
 

Praying

 

           Through Prayer and My Spiritual Life

  • Pray privately at least 15 minutes a day.
  • Go to a weekday Mass once a week.
  • Pray the Rosary Daily.
  • Read prayerfully the Mass readings for the following Sunday sometime during the week.
  • Spend 30-60 minutes once a week before the tabernacle in Eucharistic adoration.
  • Fast in some way at least one day per week.  
  • Go to confession once a month.
  • Do something to overcome one sinful habit.  Give this to our Lord for Love and Healing.
  • Attend a diocesan "Pilgrimage of Mercy" event.
  • Invite your family or friends to join you in Prayer.
  • Offer the Chaplet of Divine Mercy once a week.
  • Open your Heart to the Lord for Direction and Devotion to His love for you.
  • Seek Spiritual Direction to support you on this journey.

A Way of Life

Stewardship

 

Stewardship

Contact

Kory Koralewski

Director of Stewardship and Development

Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Island
2708 Old Fair Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
O: 308-382-6565 Ext 219
C: 308-999-9821

Stewardship@gidiocese.org

”It’s not how Much we Give but how Much LOVE we put into Giving”  
ST. Mother Teresa of Kolkata