25th Sunday in OT (September 18, 2016)

25th Sunday in OT (September 18, 2016)

Stewardship – how we make use of what has been entrusted to us.  In our Scriptures here at Mass we hear of some not-so-good examples, people who didn’t use their resources for good/for the good of others.  But today we’re going to focus on the good stewardship that happens here at St. Peter Parish.  You should have received a copy of our new annual stewardship report.  While that report was well-received and told a lot of our story (particularly in numbers), it couldn’t tell it all.  It didn’t include things like those who take Communion to the sick and homebound, those who help out with landscaping around the parish grounds, those who help make our Donut Sundays a great time of fellowship, the moms’ prayer group and women’s prayer group, all that the K of C does in our parish and community, those who help with the Huron food pantry and Christ community meal and our Sharing Tree at Christmas, etc.

Thank you to all who help make St. Peter Parish what it is!  We are so blessed here at St. Peter.  We are growing as disciples together and building up the Kingdom of God in our community because of your generous stewardship of resources and abilities. 

We have a church here in Huron where both residents and visitors feel welcome.

We have as one of our big ministries the only faith-based school in Huron, one that serves not only our parishioners but is open to all in our community, while remaining unapologetically Catholic.  The majority of our wonderful and hard-working faculty and staff are St. Peter parishioners.

In the past, we had a superb and dedicated group of high school youth ministry partners, but when the time came for them to pass the torch it was decided that there is just too much going on with this ministry (with even more possible) that we couldn’t do without a fulltime director of youth evangelization.  There’s extra cost involved with that, but I feel our high school students are worth it.  And we’re blessed to have our former youth ministry partners continue to be involved, joining a tremendous and generous team of adult volunteers.

The most important thing we do as a church is our communal prayer and worship in the celebration of the Sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist.  The word “liturgy” refers to “the work of the people,” and it is a community effort/a community engagement.  We’re so blessed that so many parishioners of all ages step up and step into the ministries of lector, altar server, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, usher, greeter, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and others.  While all of these ministries are so important, I don’t think there’s any doubt that good liturgical music is a difference-maker, and I know that it’s something that is valuable to our community.  Our devoted choir members and cantors have hung in there through the ups & downs over the years, and of course we’re so grateful and appreciative to now have again a fulltime person dedicated to this.  Music and beauty touch us deeply and help connect us to God.  I absolutely believe it’s worth it.

For going on two years, our parish Ignite events have enabled many to have a meaningful encounter with Christ through worship and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the witness of fellow parishioners, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and intercessory prayer.  Since April, a group of parishioners have been meeting regularly as a Core Mission team to form a community of missionary disciples and help take our Mass Impact movement to the next level.

Brothers & sisters, God is doing amazing things here at St. Peter Church!  But I firmly believe that God can make much more happen through our ongoing stewardship.  For example, in July I joined five junior high students in a life-changing week at Catholic Youth Summer Camp.  The parish was able to offer some assistance to each of them.  This coming summer we’d like to have a lot more than five parishioners have this awesome experience, which would require even more support from the parish.

As we look to propel the mission of growing as disciples together here at St. Peter, what if we could afford to have a staff member dedicated to evangelization—from coordinating a growing number of Alpha courses and Live IT groups to paying special attention to those who are new to our community and those who are lost or have become disconnected?  What if the parish could have someone dedicated to our young adults and families?  What if our parish could have someone dedicated to the elderly and the needy?  To social outreach?  What if we could even have someone dedicated to communication and development to more effectively share the good news of what’s going on here and to further engage the diverse gifts that each of you has.  What if we could afford to even help growth in faith through something like the Dynamic Catholic book program, giving out hundreds of copies of the various books they offer?

Now, perhaps especially as we’re here in the thick of a presidential election cycle, I’m hoping that all this stuff doesn’t come off, you know, as sounding like a bunch of campaign promises.  I’m not running for office; I’m just dreaming big here, friends.  I believe our parish is worth it; I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it.  We can’t just go through the motions in our life of faith and in the life of our family of faith.  We should always look to keep moving forward and growing as disciples together.

This week you will be receiving a special brochure in the mail along with a Commitment Card to renew your financial Commitment to support our important ministries here at St. Peter Church.  Next weekend will be our Commitment Sunday where we will hear from a couple of our faithful parishioners witnessing how we as a parish are continuing to serve our community. Your financial sacrifice does so much good—we care for those in need, we educate our young and adults in the faith, we celebrate the Sacraments together in our spiritual home.   I have this boat here to encourage you to join me in getting on board, and I look forward to celebrating our Commitment Weekend next Sunday.  Thank you so much again for all that you do, and God bless you!