I am on the parish council at my parish.  The appeal was put out to each member to think about addressing the congregation at the Mass that we usually attend.  I decided that I was going to give my two cents for what it is worth.  I thought I would add it here.

“There are just a few more days to finish preparations for Christmas.  I have a plan for my menu and for the last shopping trips I need to make.  I feel better because I have a plan.

During Advent we have been hearing about God’s plan for salvation through Jesus, our Savior.  We all know that Chirstmas is the day that we celebrate the Incarnation of our Savior as a sweet baby.  We are exceedingly blessed to have been offered, and have received the gift of faith in Jesus.  We are richly blessed to call ourselves Catholic.  We are blessed to be part of the parish of Our Lady of the Desert.

Man has been given the gift and responsibility of being stewards of God’s creation.  In the CCC the Church teaches:  On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life.  He needs others.  Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitueds, the benefits derived from social commerce and the distribution of wealth.

In other words, “talents” are not distributed equally.

The CCC continues:  These differences belong to God’s plan…the differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness and the sharing of goods.

Theis menas that we should exercise the virtues of Temperance, which is to moderate our use of the good we have been blessed with;  Justice, which is the constant and firm will to give one’s due to God and neighbor and Solidarity, which is recognition of our common humanity, especially in the light of Christ’s redemption, by which we are saved.

Being good stewards requires a plan.  We each need to carefully, review what we have been given in our lives.  We budget for housing, food, cars, utilities.  We need to budget for our spiritual home, this parish.  The parish council is asking that you prayerfully discern what you can afford to give to the parish, the DDF and to other worthy charities.  The parish has bills just as a regular household does.  There are utilities to pay, staff to compensate and insure, insurance on the properties and buildings, not to mention upkeep on the buildings and inside the church.  We have furniture that needs attention.  Like David in the first reading, we should look to taking care of the house of God.  The DDF is an assessment from the diocese.  this is so that they are able to function to provide support and services to the parishes, priests, religious and programs that they are able to run through the diocese.  Any moneys that are collected above the assessment amount comes straight back to the parish.

The worksheet that ha been handed out will help you think of items that you might want to give towards.  Not all of the items listed are required, nor is it all inclusive.  There are combined collections in the Spring and Fall, as well as collections for the Retired Religious and the Congregation of the Resurrection, whom we are blessed to have staffing our parish.  The parish council is highly recommending regular contributions to the parish and the DDF.

Everyone has something to offer.  Not everyone will be able to offer the same dollar amount.  1Cor 16:2 says, “One the first day of the week, Sunday, each of you should set aside whatever he can afford.” and 2Cor 9:7 says, “So that in this way it might be ready as a bountiful give and not as an exaction.”  There is no set amount or, tithe, that is required by the Church.

Like Mary’s Fiat, our saying ‘yes’ to God is an acceptance of the greatest gift.  Our saying yes to this gift requires action like Fr. Del mentioned in his homily.

There is one gift that the parish would like to share with you.  There are calendars available in the concourse.  Diana and I will be out at the tables for a short while after Mass for any questions or comments that you might have.  Thank you for your time and on behalf of the parish council, have a blessed and very Merry Christmas.


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