GUEST COLUMNIST | Stewardship: A renewal of our personal covenant with God

God has been making covenants with mankind since Adam and Eve. Remember Abraham, Moses, David, Noah and the New Covenant with Jesus, to name several. Covenants are part of our faith and sacred tradition.

Every year in the fall, many parishes celebrate their annual parish stewardship renewal. It's a time for both parish communities and individual parishioners to reflect on the gifts they have been given and then, in gratitude, return to God a small portion for everything He has given us.

The annual parish stewardship renewal is really our time to renew our covenant with God, just like our ancestors before us. It's our time to continue the sacred traditions of gratitude and generosity.

As part of the annual stewardship renewal, many parishes include "Commitment Card Weekend" in which parishioners complete cards committing to increased prayer, ministry participation and financial support.

Here's a suggestion. Instead of calling it "Commitment Card Weekend," think of it as "Covenant Card Weekend." The word "commitment" has a negative connotation while the word "covenant" implies a sacred and holy bond with God and encourages a personal relationship with Him, rather than something that feels forced, coerced or obligated to do.

This simple change in mindset puts the focus back on the religious aspect of stewardship and redirects the annual parish stewardship renewal away from simply being a process to round up more volunteers and collect more money.

Remember, the whole point of stewardship is to strengthen our faith, bring us closer to God and help each other get to heaven. This is why we celebrate stewardship each year. It's really another "season" of the Church (like Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas and Ordinary Times).

Gratitude and generosity are foundational pillars of being Catholic, they are fundamental to being good stewards of our God-given gifts and it's what built our Church. Just as generations before us have been good stewards of their gifts, now it's our turn and our responsibility to continue to be good stewards for future generations.

Sunday, Sept. 24th, is Stewardship Awareness Sunday in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Pray to discover how God is calling you to use your gifts to help build His kingdom on earth and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or davidbaranowski@archstl.org. 

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