Stewardship Articles in the Harvest

 
2016 May/June   What did you expect?
   

There is an old story that bears repeating: A man lived in an area that was about to be flooded. A Red Cross bus drove through to evacuate residents. When the bus driver invited him to jump aboard and get out of harm’s way, he declined, saying, “I will be OK. I have prayed to the Lord for deliverance.” Later, as the flood waters rose to the level of his porch, a sheriff’s department boat came by and offered to carry him to safety.

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2016 July/August   Pray, Just Pray
   

As a little girl, as I was learning my catechism this was intriguing to me. I learned that prayer is lifting our minds and hearts to God. Simple, right? If it’s so simple, why is it so hard to remember and incorporate it into our daily lives? 

​We are busy people. From morning to night, we are on schedules. We meet distractions at every corner. I have been learning about prayer this year. The kinds of prayer, how we are to pray, spending time with God. 

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2016 July/August   The Three Minute Rule
   

We Catholics are accustomed to privacy in our faith. “My prayer life and my faith are between God and myself.” I was raised that way and I’ll bet many of you were too. Research is showing us that our spiritual growth is strongly tied to our faith community, a feeling that we are a part of the church, that we are needed and cared about. 

Here’s an easy idea to strengthen that welcoming spirit within your own church. It’s called “The Three Minute Rule.” 

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2016 Sept/Oct   "It was the best call we made."
   

I am sure St. Mary’s Parish in Columbus resembles a lot of rural parishes in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. We were a small and struggling parish, questioning how to grow, wondering not only how do we fulfill the needs of the parishioners we have, but how do we get back those parishioners who have fallen away? How do we get the young families excited and involved?

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2016 Sept/Oct   "We are called to give."
   

Billy Ray and Margi Ross crossed a threshold recently that many won’t. Although very private people, they offered to share their story about giving and support of the Catholic Church with readers of The Harvest. Like most of us, speaking about gifts they make is most certainly out of their comfort zone. They are doing so not for accolades, but with fervent hope that it will inspire others to give in the way they are. Billy Ray and Margi see their giving not only as an act of stewardship, but evangelization.

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2016 Nov/Dec   And a Child Shall Lead Them...
   

Do you want to feel good about the future of the Catholic Church in our diocese? Sometimes
Catholic adults can learn important things from Catholic young people about stewardship.

This story is about a gift of $180 that was delivered to the Catholic Foundation of Eastern
Montana last December, with instructions that it be added to the Foundation’s “Youth and
Young Adult Ministry Endowment”. What made it stand out was that it was donated by four
children – Greg, Sam, Ellie and Maggie Fulbright of St. Leo the Great Parish in Lewistown.

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2016 Nov/Dec  

Feeding the Needy – Stewardship Outreach of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish – Billings

   

Twenty-eight years ago, St Thomas the Apostle Church started a food basket outreach program designed to help needy families in the Billings community during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter seasons. Each holiday, the outreach program touches the lives of hundreds of needy families in the community, and, at the same time, warms the hearts of the entire St. Thomas parish family.

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2017 Jan/Feb   A Gift of a Lifetime
   


“Whoever wants to follow Christ will have much work to do on his behalf – announcing the Good News and serving others as Jesus did. Jesus’ call is urgent. He does not tell people to follow him at some time in the future, but here and now – at this moment, in these circumstances” (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, 14, USCCB).

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2017 March/April   Take the Opportunity
   

As seen earlier in The Harvest, prayer is such an important part of our daily lives. We say our morning and evening prayers, grace before meals, prayers at Mass and before/after meetings. However, there are many other opportunities to pray, and what a gift to offer prayers for others.

Our days may seem so busy, but there are many moments we can use to say a prayer. When you pass the home of someone who is ill or homebound, say a little prayer for that person; remember the caregiver too. When you walk or drive past the former home of someone who has moved or who has passed away, say a prayer for that individual.

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2017 May/June  

Celebrate the Eucharist…don’t just stand there like a post!

   

My husband and I live in a tiny town with a tiny mission church averaging Saturday Mass attendance from 25-45. We all find it easy to fall into our patterns of comfort. We attend Mass faithfully but perhaps didn’t feel particularly moved by the service. Here’s a stewardship idea that is just as usable in a tiny mission as it is in a large parish.

One of the priorities I’ve learned is that every parish member must feel that they are needed, and that their opinions matter. Yes, each person is valuable and would be missed if they weren’t there. 

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2017 July/August   Small Parish Engagement
   

My wife and I have 7 children scattered across America from Albany, NY to Tucson, AZ, from
Washington DC to Denver, CO, by way of Omaha. In the process of visiting mostly the 13 grand-kids we have had the opportunity to visit some very large vibrant Catholic churches. 

Recently as I was waiting for Mass to begin at one of these churches, I could not help myself. I had to do the math: 13 people per pew, 9 pews per section, and 10 sections equals 1170 capacity. At approximately 85% full today equals 995 were celebrating Eucharist.

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2017 Sept/Oct   Don't Bury Yours
   

Recently, our children’s choir sang at Mass, young singers of all sizes and shapes. Some were natural performers, swaying, smiling, truly enjoying singing. Others appeared nervous and stiff. Singing in public wasn’t their talent. All were different, yet doing their best.

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2017 Nov/Dec   So Much More Than a Cup of Joe
   

My coffee mugs change with the seasons. Sometimes I wonder if other people do that, or if it’s just me.
I have come to believe, by watching the coffee phenomenon explode over the last decade, that the taste of coffee, and the caffeine in coffee, have an equal (if not more important) counterpart. It’s the vibe of coffee.

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2017 Nov/Dec  

Parish Women Define Stewardship in Action

   

We just buried one of our friends. As I looked out at the congregation and saw 17 members of the Council of Catholic Women present at the funeral of Sharon, I thought, “this is a true display of stewardship and engagement”. Sharon quietly attended meetings, hosted meetings, and worked wherever she was asked. Sharon was an engaged participant of our group and we will miss her. Before I became a member of the Council of Catholic Women, I didn’t know much about their mission. 

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2017 Nov/Dec   Stewardship Defined by Example
   

I grew up on a farm. Mom taught music our home. She played organ at church and led the choir. Mom held leadership roles in various church, community and state organizations. Dad was a farmer, volunteer fireman, and member of a co-op. He and fellow parishioners built our modest church.

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He Continues to Teach Us – Will You Join In to Listen and Learn?

   

With funding from the recent annual collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign, the Office of Stewardship and Diocesan Stewardship Council will be bringing a year-long webinar series offered to everyone in our diocese in 2018.

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2018 Jan/Feb   Stewardship and Small Parish Life
   

Rural communities and parishes have different needs compared to areas with larger populations. Rural parishes have
fewer resources. They have fewer members, volunteers, and less nancial support than larger parishes.

Many rural parishes are taken for granted by many members of their parish. People expect that the parish will always be there. But will the parish always be there when they want it to be?

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2018 March/April   Family Works of Mercy
   

Jesus tells us, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25: 40). The Catholic Church draws from this chapter in Matthew’s Gospel the corporal works of mercy: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, burying the dead, and giving alms to the poor. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these “works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.” (CCC 2447). The works of mercy are acts of stewardship.

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2018 May/June  

Karolee Cronk, St. Thomas the Apostle, Harlem

   

Often emphasized in our Stewardship articles is the importance of welcoming and hospitality in our churches— whether a warm hello to the new couple and to the little children or a greeting to the regular parishioners and to the visitors.

However, there are parish members whom we sometimes overlook–not out of indifference, but often forgetting to think of them in our busy lives. These are the parishioners unable to attend Mass regularly or at all—the elderly, the disabled, the ill, the caregivers. 

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