Editor’s note: Between now and the Archdiocesan Synod, June 7-8, the Catholic Herald will publish summaries, prepared by the Synod Preparatory Commission, of each of the eight background papers that will be discussed at the synod. The complete text of each paper, along with an introduction to the papers, “Discipleship: Our fundamental Catholic Identity,” written by Bishop Donald J. Hying, is available at tinyurl.com/synodbackground.
Cultural realities

  • The secular culture fosters consumerism, relativism, hedonism and individualism.
  • Among registered parishioners, 6.4 percent contribute 80 percent of volunteer hours and 6.8 percent donate 80 percent of financial contributions.
  • The average annual Catholic donation is $175 compared to $588 for non-Catholics.
  • The single greatest factor in Catholic giving is the separation of money from faith.

Reflection question

Given these cultural realities, how can we invite Catholics to encounter the amazing generosity of God so that they respond with a stewardship way of life?

Theological foundations

  • Disciples make the decision to follow Jesus no matter the cost to themselves.
  • Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ leads naturally to the practice of stewardship.
  • Stewardship is a conversion journey of receiving God’s love and returning that love.
  • Disciples practice stewardship recognizing God as the source of all they are and have.

Reflection question

How can we invite Catholics to encounter Jesus and respond to his call to intentional discipleship through lifelong conversion?

Other issues and challenges

  • A “full stewardship parish” would result in an increase of in our gifts, talents and financial resources being shared in justice and love for others.
  • For our parishes to achieve long-term financial stability, they must grow in mission-effectiveness and spiritual vibrancy.
  • Communication, formation and resource development plans need to be formulated to persuasively and systematically promote the vision of the “full stewardship parish” to pastors and parish leaders throughout the archdiocese.

Reflection question

  • How do we develop resources and engage parish leadership to promote and implement the vision of the “full stewardship parish” across the archdiocese?