Prayer for My Parish
My parish is composed of people like me. I help make it what it is.
It will be friendly if I am. It will be holy if I am. Its pews will be filled if I help fill them.
It will do great work if I work. It will be prayerful if I pray. It will make generous gifts to many causes if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship if I invite and bring them.
It will be a parish family of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and of compassion, charity, and mercy if I—who make it what it is—am filled with these same qualities.
Therefore, with the help of God, I will dedicate myself to the task of being all the things I want my parish to be.
Bless my journey Lord God, that I might follow Jesus and build the Church for your glory.
A Place To Belong
From the Church’s earliest beginnings, Christians have built tight-knit communities. In the early Church, koinonia, or community, was a word with enormous significance. It evoked strong feelings of hospitality and belonging between those who had committed themselves to live as disciples of Christ.
The early Church consisted of these groups of people who lived together, ate together and were willing to die for each other. This is the foundation upon which our Christian sense of community is built.
A Core Christian Value
Here at St. Francis Solanus, we want to help every individual to know that they are welcome and wanted as a part of our Catholic family. The presence of hospitality can make a newcomer or a returning member of the church feel at home. Friends are welcomed with open arms and warm smiles. Visitors feel the genuine love present in a hearty “Welcome!” Family members do not visit; they belong.
In terms of stewardship, hospitality is an immensely important concept. The truth is, if someone doesn’t feel like they are wanted and appreciated, how will they receive the love of God through us? Hospitality opens the door to a person’s heart and allows him or her to receive joy, grace and love. For St. Francis Solanus to continue to grow as a stewardship community, we must help everyone who walks through our doors feel like they truly have come home. We must make hospitality a cornerstone.
“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” — Eph 2:19-20
Stewardship Of Time
While many of us understand that prayer is an important element of the Christian life, most of us admit that it’s difficult to find a quiet moment to spend with God.
As Christians, we must remember that we cannot give what we do not have. In order for us to welcome others into the life of the Church, we need to make sure that our spiritual lives are properly in order. To become a more prayerful person, take inventory of how you spend the 168 hours in the week. Are you taking time to talk to God in prayer, to speak with Him as you would a friend? Are you seeking His truth through reading the Scriptures? Will you make Him first on your priority list so that you are able to give to others from the graces He has given you?
Maintaining A Healthy Prayer Life:
- Pope Francis encourages all Catholics to spend time in daily prayer, thanking God for His blessings, asking for His help in difficult circumstances and reading Scripture.
- Receive spiritual nourishment in the Eucharist at least every Sunday.
- Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis and asking God for the grace to live a life of holiness.
Helpful Prayer Resources
- My Parish App - St. Francis Solanus (Daily readings, reflections, prayers, prayer reminders and requests)
- Catholic phone or tablet apps: Word on Fire, Today's Saint, Bible in One Year, iBreviary, Magnificat, Divine Office or The Pope App (news and homilies from Pope Francis)
- Websites: usccb.org/bible/readings (daily readings of the Catholic Church), Vatican.va (The Vatican and Holy See)
Stewardship of Talent
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Each of us has received gifts from God that we are to use in humble service. While many of us may not recognize the skills or abilities we have as gifts, they are a means by which we can give glory to God through serving each other. At St. Francis Solanus, our ministries provide opportunities for us to serve God and others. From a warm smile to giving someone a warm meal, we are able to welcome others into the family of God by being Christ to them. Reaching out in love, while sometimes difficult, can be quite spiritually enriching! Will you take the time to ask God how you can best serve Him through the service of His children?
Ways to Welcome and Serve Others:
- Pray about how your gifts can best be used to help others feel welcome.
- Sign up for a parish ministry that stretches you to put others’ needs before your own.
- Greet our fellow parishioners before or after Mass, introducing yourself to unfamiliar faces.
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service, but the same Lord... To
each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
— 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Stewardship of Treasure
Throughout Scripture, we are taught to give to God our “first fruits” or the “choicest portion.” In modern speech, we might say that the first “line item” in the family budget should be returning a portion of our income to God. Both symbolically and in actuality, this is a powerful expression of God’s place in your life. “Where your treasure is, there also lies your heart” (Matthew 6:21). Will you take some time to reassess how you prioritize God in your finances?
Reasons to Tithe
- Why give a percentage of income?
- We give the tithe (which means 10% of one’s harvest or income) because it is a scriptural benchmark that has been honored since the early Church (see Malachi 3:10).
Working Toward Giving the Tithe
- 6% to the church support
- 4% to other charities
If you have difficulty reaching your goal of the tithe, try increasing your giving incrementally, by one or two percent of income each year. Over time, you will find that the tithe is a reasonable goal that can be reached. Most importantly, you will know that you have been faithful in placing God first in everything, even in your finances.