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Stewardship councils offer invaluable support

By David Myers
Southwest Kansas Register

David Borho wears a coat of many colors, which considering his work, might be a more apropos way of saying that he wears many hats.
As one of the founding members of the Sacred Heart, Pratt Parish Stewardship Council, he and the other members are responsible for assisting their parish (as Bishop John Brungardt explained in a past column):
•  to grow in hospitality, as each welcomes all;
• to be formed in catechetical efforts, learning about our loving God;
• to be aware of our Caring Father in prayer and worship; and
• to serve others by living the Gospel message.
“The Stewardship Council,” Bishop Brungardt goes on to write, “assists the pastor and staff. The Council promotes the parish. The members encourage all.”    
Swimming in a sea of church councils – school, parish, financial, etc... – the Stewardship Council may be the best kept secret of the parish. Yet, their contributions are invaluable. For example, last year Sacred Heart Parish focussed on the expression of “gratitude”.
“No matter what, we are grateful to God for the gifts we have,” Borho said. “Gratitude comes to us in many small ways throughout the day, whether it’s prayers answered, seeing a beautiful sunrise, or playing with a grandchild. At Mass, we asked people to write on a sheet of paper for what they were grateful, and we posted them in the entrance of the church. It was very thought provoking to recall God’s gifts.”
“Gratitude” is one in a four-tiered “job-description” for the council that also includes prayer, formation and service (gratitude is combined with hospitality). Under the “service” listing, for example, the council invited parishioners to their sister mission at an Indian reservation in Arizona, and invited representatives from the reservation to the parish.  They also serve at the Hope Center in Pratt, which offers “one stop shopping” for those most in need.
This year, the parish’s theme is “hospitality”. Borho and the council have invited members of the parish, and anyone else who has a message to share, to offer a lay witness at Mass. While they suggest that the message has something to do with the topic of hospitality, they certainly won’t turn down someone whose message encourages the Catholic Christian life.
“We have been asking, and a half dozen lay witness presentations have been given throughout the year,” Borho said. “They are very well received by our parish.”
All of which may leave people wondering, What about money? Isn’t that what stewardship really means? Bringing in money to support the church and its ministries?
“We wanted to move as a stewardship council away from the notion that the work of stewardship is synonymous with getting more money out of someone,” Borho said. “That’s a bad rap. So, hence our four-fold focus” – which is all about bringing people closer to Christ.
“As stewardship council members, we are committed to prayer and formation guided by the Holy Spirit, not only to help in the pastoral mission of our parish, but to be lay examples of the new evangelization.”

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