From Our Pastor: Tithing
The Diocese of Springfield is moving to a stewardship and discipleship focus and model in how we live out our lives of faith. As part of that the formerly known Annual Catholic Services Appeal (ACSA) is moving from a parish tax model to a tithing model and mentality. As we continue down the road to stewardship as a diocese, that we as a parish know so well, we long to see the effects and life that come from this new way of life.
Taxing is a take. We need the opportunity to respond and give to the Lord. The Diocese provides a great deal of support to the parishes and at a greater frugalness than I have ever seen. More and more they have made decisions to limit staff and double up jobs and continue to make sure that every dollar spent is well spent and not wasted. Our diocesan staff have become more and more active in parish support and assistance.
This response includes paying for seminary education for our priesthood candidates and our permanent deacon candidates. We all want good priests and deacons. This only comes by making sure we fund their education and support them during their studies. Hopefully some day you get one of those good diocesan priests! (Just teasing, I hope.) This response helps us take care of those who need annulments and assistance in tribunal matters in rectifying marriages in the church at no cost to those in need of this help so that no one is deterred by costs to seek to right whatever struggles they may have keeping them from communion with the church. This response supports work with our youth and young adults. This response continues the work catechizing and educating our laity more and more to be better witnesses and evangelists in their communities. The list of things our response to the Lord goes on and on.
We always have to remind ourselves that we are not a congregational church but instead we are part of something larger than just us here at St. Francis and that is the diocese and the universal Church as a whole. This new model of tithing is a response to giving to support all of this and more. As we transition to a tithing model of regular giving as a parish to the diocese, we have a transitional period where we have a goal still to meet based off past years giving, but aren't at the direct tithing that we are moving towards. This year's tithing goal for our parish is hefty, but it is based off a very good years' worth of giving.
Our goal is $150,544. We already have over $30,000 directly pledged through the mailing the diocese did back in November. I know this goal is achievable. You can give directly to the diocese sending it to them with tithing and our parish name in the memo. You can give to this goal also by sending your giving for this to the parish in the collection or directly to the office or in online giving with the notation of diocesan tithing. All of this helps us meet this goal as well as limit our goal for the next year by giving directly for this goal.
As we move to the full reality of tithing in the next couple years, we will discuss how we can keep our goals down while still making sure we do our part in supporting the diocese and the efforts of the Church at large. It's an easy shift but an important one in how we respond to the Lord. Please help meet this goal. It is very achievable. If every family in our parish gave $100 to this goal, we would meet this goal quickly. I hope every family gives what they can, some obviously can do more than $100 and some will struggle to give close to that amount. If we all do our part this challenge from the Lord will be fulfilled! Making sure we keep our eyes focused on our response to the Lord Jesus in His invitation as a disciple. Thank you for your continued generosity and loving response to God.
Rev. Steven Arisman