Articles

Why Stewardship?

Once one chooses to become a disciple of Jesus Christ,
stewardship is not an option

[Disciple’s Response]

Just as God loved us by putting on flesh in the person of Jesus, so we love God by putting on Christ and loving others. Jesus makes the way of stewardship very clear. His self-emptying sacrifice on the cross was for our salvation. By working for justice, caring for those in needs and putting on abilities and resources at the service of others, we contribute to the mission of the church in continuing Jesus’ saving work in the world. We are co-redeemers with Christ and ourselves become stewards of the mystery of salvation. To be a disciple means to be like Christ and to continue Christ’s mission of the redemption of the world.

The 4 Principles of Stewardship

These are the four principles of stewardship.

  1. The 1st principle of stewardship is to receive God’s gifts with gratitude. Receiving engenders dependence on God. Gratitude acknowledges abundance.
  2. The 2nd principle of stewardship is to cultivate God’s gifts responsibly. Literally “steward” means “manager of the house.” God has entrusted His house to us. We are accountable to God for managing gifts given to us and we do so for the glory of God and in the service of humankind.
  3. The 3rd principle of stewardship is to share God’s gifts lovingly and in justice with others. The self-emptying sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is for us a model of sharing with love and in justice.
  4. The 4th principle of stewardship is to return God’s gifts with increase of the Lord. It is often the fear of losing what we have coupled with inertia the keeps us from giving. Yet, the Gospel urges us not to hoard or be content with the status quot. Faith in God’s love and abiding care gives us the confidence to give so that our gifts may bear fruit.

The Difference Stewardship Will Make

What difference will stewardship make in my life?

The world will never run out of needs. Trying to respond to the needs of the world on their own terms will leave the giver discouraged. Stewardship shifts the focus from the needs of others to our relationship with God. As we live out our baptismal commitment to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit united by love, we gradually grow in the life of discipleship so that our will and God’s will increasingly coincide and God becomes more deeply present to us that we are to ourselves (Deus caritas est, Benedict XVI). Stewardship changes your priorities so that self-abandonment becomes your will and God becomes your joy.

What difference will stewardship make in my parish?

Home is a place of love, safety, trust, and acceptance. It is also a place of responsibility, inter-dependance, teamwork, sacrifice, investment, and chores. Giving people a job to do, gives them a stake in the community. Parish stewardship is the difference between programs and people, the difference between planning and prayer, it’s the difference between fossilisation and evangelisation, and it's the difference between a place you visit and a place you belong.

What Can I Do?

There is no pre-fabricated program for stewardship. It requires a conversation of individual hearts and an ongoing transformation of a community. There are concrete stewardship practices. You and your parish are already doing many of these things to some degree. To increase the stewardship spirituality in your parish requires a conscious commitment to the process that rests upon a spiritual foundation, formation in prayer, the development of identify, and a build up of community through trust and accountability.

Related Offices Stewardship
Related Themes Stewardship Discipleship Giving Resources Christian Life

Youth Ministry

Overview

The Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry is here to serve youth and whose working with youth in your diocese with Direction, Guidance and Collaboration.

Our Office offers resources, information, and support:

  1. Parish Ministry/Youth Ministers: Parishes wanting youth and young adults to start and maintain programs for their parishes.
  2. School Ministry: The Director and staff of the Ministry work with the Catholic School Divisions as well as NET in all the zones in the Diocese.
  3. University Campus Ministry: Our office works with an active campus ministry in all the universities and colleges.
  4. Integration of Service providers in the Diocese: We collaborate with chaplains and Christian groups, as well as other church and outside agencies, to provide comprehensive programming and services.
  5. Our intention is to provide a comprehensive ministry to all our youth and young adults, aged 6-35. These are some of the resources and programs that are a part of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Related Offices Youth & Young Adult Related Programs One Rock Diocesan Youth Retreat Team
Related Themes Youth and Young Adults Youth Youth Ministry

Facilities and Safe Environments

It has been over five years since Strengthening Our Parish Communities was rolled out to the parishes. We recruited and trained diocesan and pastoral zone Screening Coordinators and parish leads, moved to volunteers completing application forms, Agreement to Model Code of Conduct forms and Vulnerable Sector Police checks. From there the emphasis was on training workshops on how to protect minors and the vulnerable.

While most of the process has focused on the interactive relationship between volunteers, coordinators and facilitators, we should not neglect the focus on abuse prevention through attention to the physical layout of the parish buildings and meeting areas.

An example of how the physical layout process has worked for St. James Parish community in Okotoks and Black Diamond was in the planning and building of the parish hall and office addition. While the planning process was underway, it gave an excellent opportunity to both upgrade the existing physical structure of the eight year old church as well as incorporate the new guidelines into the addition.

This resulted in incorporating items that led to a much more secure and risk free environment including:

  •  Replacing the solid sliding doors in the two existing meeting rooms in the narthex with side glass and swinging doors with glass panes.
  •   The small kitchen was opened up with a second door as well as an additional pass through.
  • Two individual handicapped bathrooms were installed to make it easier for the individuals to have caregiver assistance
  • Windows installed in the confessional doors

The new construction ensured:

  •   Each meeting room has an interior side glass and outside windows.
  • The children’s liturgy room has a bathroom included within the room to avoid young children having to use the main public washrooms.
  • The entrance to the hall is controlled by key fobs rather than keys. This enables the staff to manage access as the volunteers rotate
  •  The two main entrance doors are controlled by timers that open the doors during office hours and lock them after hours
  • Extra exterior lighting covering all parking lot and building areas

Father Jaroslaw (Yarek) Dziuba and the parish staff, as well as the volunteers, have been blessed to be able to incorporate the SOPC structural guidelines within the new building. While not all parishes have the opportunity to renovate or build, the guidelines are readily available as changes become affordable. Some updates would be very cost effective taken on their own should a parish wish to proceed with undertaking them.

As the Strengthening our Parish Communities matures into the five year window of renewing forms and vulnerability checks, this initiative has moved from a “program” to an ingrained way of ministering for the volunteer ministers, the vulnerable, the Catholic Diocese of Calgary and the Community as a whole.

The acceptance of this process has progressed from a few being OK with it, to the majority of the volunteers now having embraced and completed the process. The journey to this stage has taken some time and has been successful through faith and dedication of the volunteer ministers. There has been factual evidence that the process is working to protect both the volunteers and the vulnerable. In a few instances it has either dissuaded risky volunteers from applying for a ministry position or movement of individuals that posed a risk to the groups or individuals they served.

The Lord has truly blessed and given faith and dedication to our parish communities.


This article appeared on the May 2016 issue of the Carillon.

Related Offices Carillon Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults
Related Themes Abuse Prevention Safe Environment

An Interfaith Evening at the Mosque: Noble Life of Jesus

On April 9, I attended the Interfaith Conference featuring a panel including Bishop Henry and Deacon Adrian Martens of our Diocese, and missionaries, Maulana Taha Syed, and Maulana Shaurch Abid, who shared about their respective perspectives on the Noble Life of Jesus. This was my first visit to a mosque. Most noteworthy, is the hospitality of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community as they welcomed us, their Christian visitors, so warmly. A meal was served to the 1000+ in attendance!

Deacon Adrian explained that, “The evening was important because the speakers identified areas where we agree, but also the areas that are importantly different; and touched on the essential differences between Islam and Christianity.” Each of the 15- minute talks was very well presented. The Muslims shared the story of Jesus, a prophet, who fulfilled his mission in life; and also a significant discrepancy about the Jesus’ death and why they do not believe that Jesus is God.

Bishop Henry balanced the differing talks with his personal witness of Jesus in his life. He shared the Apostle’s Creed as an introduction to our beliefs pertaining to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; and then boldly concluded his talk with a quote from C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, that tells us that we must make a choice: “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Related Offices Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs Office
Related Themes Interreligious Peace Diocesan Event Interfaith

Volunteer Screening Accepted

While most of the process has focused on the interactive relationship between the vulnerable persons, volunteers, coordinators and facilitators, we are not neglecting to also focus on abuse prevention through attention to the physical layout of the parish buildings and meeting areas.

An example of how the physical layout process has worked for the St. James Parish communities in Okotoks and Black Diamond was in the planning and building of the parish hall and office addition. While the planning process was underway, it gave an excellent opportunity to upgrade the existing physical structure of the eight year old church, as well as incorporate the new safety guidelines into the addition.

This resulted in incorporating considerations that led to a much more secure and risk free environment including:

  • Replacing the solid sliding doors in the two existing meeting rooms in the narthex with side glass and swinging doors with glass panes.
  • The small kitchen was opened up with a second door and an additional pass through opening.
  • Two individual handicapped bathrooms were installed to make it easier for the individuals with a caregiver.
  • Windows were installed in the confessional doors.

The new construction ensured:

  • Each meeting room has an interior side glass, and outside windows.
  • The children’s liturgy room has a bathroom included within the room so that young children don’t have to leave to use the public washrooms.
  • The entrance to the hall is controlled by key fobs rather than keys; enabling the staff to manage access for volunteer rotations.
  • The two main entrance doors are controlled by timers that open the doors during office hours and lock them after hours.
  • Extra exterior lighting covers all parking lot and building areas.

Fr. Jaroslaw (Yarek) Dziuba and the parish staff, as well as the volunteers, have been blessed to be able to incorporate the SOPC structural guidelines within the new building. While not all parishes have the opportunity to renovate or to build, these guidelines are readily available as changes become affordable. Some updates are very cost effective taken on their own if a parish wishes to proceed with undertaking them one at a time.

As Strengthening our Parish Communities matures into the five-year window of renewing forms and vulnerable sector police checks, this initiative has moved from a “program” to an ingrained way of ministering for all in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary.

The acceptance of this process has progressed from a few being okay with it, to the majority of the volunteers now having embraced and completed the process. The journey to this stage has taken some time and has been successful through the faith and dedication of the volunteer ministers. There is factual evidence that the process is working to protect the volunteers, and the vulnerable. In a few instances it has either dissuaded risky volunteers from applying for a ministry position; brought to light the need to move individuals that posed a risk to the groups or individuals they were serving.

For more information, please call (403) 218-5549 or visit http://www.calgarydiocese.ca/about-us/departments/safe-environment.html.

Related Offices Human Resources Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults
Related Themes Safe Environment Volunteers
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