Next weekend, January 9/10, we will celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast reminds us of how the Holy Spirit came down upon Jesus as he was baptized in the Jordan. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit Jesus began His ministry on earth, a ministry that would lead to the ultimate giving of His life on the cross for us. The mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection opened for us the greatest gift of God’s love, the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have received this gift of God’s love through the waters of our own baptism, a baptism that call us to be priests, prophets and kings for the Lord.
Like Jesus who responded to the call of the Holy Spirit to begin His life of service, we too are called to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in giving of the gift of ourselves in loving service. As Christians we often refer to the giving of ourselves in loving service stewardship. We are called by the Holy Spirit to look at the blessings and talents that we have received from God and to follow the Spirit’s lead in offering them back to the Lord.
Please be praying about how you can offer your gifts and talents in the ministries of the parish. The Spirit might be prompting you to serve as a catechist in our Faith Formation classes or to work in youth ministry. Are you being called to help work on dinners or coffee hours? Maybe you have the talent like St. Joseph to do carpentry work, or have plumbing or electrical skills. You might be able and willing to assist in liturgy with musical skills, or to serve as a lector, altar server or Eucharistic Minister. Please listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to serve God during this New Year in a parish ministry.
Another way that we are called to exercise stewardship is through the financial support you can give to the work of the church in our parish, diocese and world ministries. I would like to thank all of you for your support of the parish throughout the year. Your generosity allows us to continue to spread the Goods News of God’s saving love. We will be mailing out contribution statements shortly to those who used church envelopes this past year. On the diocesan level we are in the midst of the annual appeal to support diocesan ministries. Each parishioner is asked to exercise their stewardship in support the diocesan ministries through the Catholic Ministry Appeal.
In regards to stewardship, it is suggested to begin with prayer! Consider a gift to the CMA in relation to the richness of God’s gifts to you. Even a modest gift is a great help. Participation in CMA is one expression of Stewardship, of gratitude for the gifts God has given us. What blessings give you hope and strength? How can you bless others through your generosity? The practice of giving is living the Gospel. In the Acts of the Apostles, Christians shared everything. Stewardship is not a new development, but one rooted in the Gospel.
On the weekend of January 25/26 we will have an in-pew solicitation for the Catholic Ministries Appeal. Pledge cards will be available in the pews to allow you to make a pledge to the CMA. As of December 23, 105 parishioners of Good Shepherd Catholic Community have pledged or given $30,113 or 79.91% of our goal of $37,686. I extend a special thanks to all those who have given or made pledges to our annual appeal. Your gift helps make possible the many ministries of outreach and parish support that are funded by the CMA. If you haven’t made a pledge or gift yet to this year’s appeal I ask you to do so. I realize that you all receive many request for donations this time of year and that your resources might be stretched. To make it easier to give your support to the Catholic Ministries Appeal you can make your pledge today and give your gift in installment payments through May 31, 2020. Please consider adding your support to those who have already given to help us reach our goal. If it is easier for you to give on-line, you can do so at www.dor.org.
As we journey together through this New Year may we remember that to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. The manifestation of who Jesus was came through the visit of the Magi, Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan and His changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. May the manifestation of His love continue through us, His followers, as we answer the call of the Holy Spirit to serve in His Name. God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill