In our article last week, we spent time- like with a number of our previous letters- developing our understanding that God has given us all that we have as gifts. He gave you your life, your breath, your intelligence, and He gave you everything that enables you to have your job and keep it. He gave you your health. Yes, God has given you the greatest country in the world with the largest economy - America…. God bless America! Indeed, God has blessed America. Now as an American citizen myself, born and raised in a third world country, I truly believe this, that we are indeed blessed most abundantly. I believe too that if we get rid of our greed and false "self-sufficiency" and look with humility and gratitude at all that God has given us as a country and as individuals, we will realize how incredibly blessed we are, and we will be generous. We will still realize how God keeps on blessing us.
In my previous articles, we looked at the spirituality of stewardship beginning with a look at the four core values which include: Identity, Trust, Gratitude, and Love. I also pointed out that the spirituality of Stewardship deals essentially with how we use our Time, Talent, and Treasure. I insisted that in order to be good stewards in our use of these gifts, we must have good and personal relationship with our God, which is what we are trying to build by making Stewardship a Way of Life here in our Parish. I used the analogy of the relationship between a husband and wife. I pointed out that if a good relationship exists between a couple, they would not calculate how much time they would like to spend with each other, or how much of their skills and talents and intelligence they can share between their work and each other, nor how much percentage of their money they would calculate to buy gifts for their spouses. I argued that this would not be an issue at all.READ MORE
In the last couple of articles, I ran parts of my State of the Parish Address detailing our achievements and challenges as we pursued our four strategic goals. It was very clear to me that we achieved a lot because we worked together as a community of faith. The concept of community means a lot to me because it has taught me precious values I can always relate with and it influences my leadership as your pastor and here is why:
Growing up, I have always been made to understand myself as a child of my community. My life was shaped by the rural village environment where darkness brought out night runners, countless stars and a variety of wildlife. Where every child was a child of the community regardless of whether that child was from a rich or poor family, was a biological child or child of a neighbor.READ MORE
In my last week's article, I announced the good news that our parish continues to grow and is indeed posting an upward growth trajectory. For instance, I pointed out, we welcomed over 230 new families since last March- and this number has since grown. Many more of you are beginning to get more involved in the life of our parish and I am grateful for that. Also, many visitors who come to our Church, spontaneously remark how welcoming we are. Let this always be true and let it be our cherished brand - being a warm and welcoming community!
On my part, as I told you many times, my job as I see it, is to get you all to Heaven. I cannot do this alone. You are going to help me because you have the power to do so. You have the power, given by the Holy Spirit, to set the world on fire. I call upon you to rise up to the occasion as good stewards and support me as your pastor, by giving me your time, talent through actively participating in our many ministries, and of course, through your financial contributions!READ MORE
Let us now turn to the Stewardship of our Financial Resources. In my address, I limited myself to the Fiscal Year - July 2018 through February 2019. As you will quickly notice from the details of the financial figures below, we have been good stewards of our income and expenditures.READ MORE
The following were the special events we hosted very successfully this past year which I promised to highlight this weekend:
Vatican Relics Tour: In December, for our preparation for Advent, we invited over 150 saints to be among us here at St Andrew for the Vatican Relics Tour. These saints included St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the "Little Flower"), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Faustina Kowalska. The supreme highlight was that of being able to venerate the largest certified relic of the True Cross in the world and a piece of the Veil of Our Lady.
We were honored to have Fr. Carlos Martins come and begin this exposition with a presentation and teaching on relics which provided for us the catechetical and spiritual basis for the Walk with the Saints that followed the presentation. We literally had hundreds of you come and venerate these heroes of our faith who teach us how to live the Gospel with their lives.READ MORE
Under Fr. Teilo's Direction we have 382 students served by 50 volunteers helping to run our Religious Education Programs.
This past year we also added a new program for Children with Special Needs, which I am most proud of. Kim Doyle, who is a trained special needs educator, runs this program. Under her, we currently have 13 volunteers serving our Religious Education for children with Special Needs! We have 8 children now receiving one on one catechesis, 2 are in traditional RE with support, and we are providing classroom support for other children and occasional behavioral support for other classes. Three of these children will experience their first Reconciliation and one will be receiving her First Eucharist and Confirmation.READ MORE