Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Stewardship and the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal: our response to God should be ‘prayerfully planned’
by Andy Robideaux
(From the January 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
The theology of stewardship has deep roots in our Catholic tradition. The Biblical principal of stewardship simply means that we acknowledge the blessings we have received from God by offering a portion of them back to him in gratitude. The gifts of time, talent, and treasure which we possess are not to be hoarded. Instead, they are to be shared in order to build up our Church and the world.
We are blessed in the Diocese of Spokane to have thousands of stewards of time and talent who give back by assisting with everything from serving at the altar at Mass, shoveling parish sidewalks, setting up coffee and donuts, and giving out sandwiches to the hungry and homeless.
Our financial gifts to the Annual Catholic Appeal can be placed in the context of the stewardship of treasure. A solid theological principle is to strive to tithe 10 percent of our treasure to God. This tithe has traditionally been split in half with 5 percent going to our parish and 5 percent divided among all the other charities to which we choose to donate, such as the Annual Catholic Appeal. Did you know that Catholics give less to charity than almost any other major U.S. religion? Christians in general tithe about 2.2 percent of their income. While that number isn’t much to be proud of, Catholics average about half that amount, according to Charles Zech’s Why Catholics Don’t Give ... And What Can Be Done About It.
An important part of being a good steward is that our response to God is prayerfully planned. Catholics are encouraged to actually sit down and calculate how much to give to the parish and how much to give to other charities, like the ACA. If the total goal of 10 percent is overwhelming, it might be more reasonable to simply take one baby step forward, with the goal of increasing over time.
As we plan our gift to the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal, a simple verse from Scripture might be helpful in formulating that response: “How can I repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me?” (Psalm 116:13)
(Robideaux is the Spokane Diocese’s Development Director.)
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