Making Your Plans

Stewardship: “The start of Sacred Heart being a Stewardship Parish is for each one of us to be good Stewards in our own lives.” The movement towards stewardship as a community began in earnest a year ago, after listening sessions with parishioners. As a result, we announced “Vision: True North”, a vision by which we continue to live our gospel-centered mission, even as we build our future. A vision that continues our center of worship in our downtown church but provides us the ability to seek space and opportunity that will serve us during the new wave of growth in the downtown core and nearby neighborhoods; a growth we are already experiencing. This vision set our sights on fully engaging the North Campus, a 9.8-acre facility we already own and operate, as our designated Center of Ministry and Family Life. Continue reading

Parish Life – annual reporting

Back in the day when I was a parishioner at a small country parish in Northern Virginia, once a year the chairperson of the parish council would speak during the Masses about parish finances. There were several handouts about assets, cash flow, expenses and revenues. All true and necessary things. Even though a parish is meant to be a center of worship, ministry, faith, and life – there are still budgets to make, bills to pay and plans to make. Continue reading

Stewardship and not changing a thing

Stewardship in a parish is always a topic best approached cautiously. It shouldn’t be, but it is. People always assume that it is just a $20 word to bring up donations and the need for money. In this musing, I want to talk about Stewardship in two ways: (a) to lead you to online resources that explore the richness of Stewardship, Belonging and Gratitude – the call of who we are to be as Christians in the world. And (b) the easiest way you might ever find to donate to Sacred Heart by not changing a thing in your life. Continue reading

Everyday Holiness: Being Stewards of Your Own Life

Last week’s column spoke about the broad sweep of history within the Catholic Church. In every age, there has been a pattern of the faithful pointing to others as the “Holy Ones of God.” The focus changed from Apostles, to martyrs, to the desert hermits, to the monastic men and women, to the age of wandering missionaries, to nascent movement of mendicant women and men seeking a lay holiness (only to be regularized into religious orders) – the focus never on the everyday holiness of believers. The focus remained on those men and women to whom miracles were attributed, whose life of heroic faith, while indeed praiseworthy, left the rest of us saying, “Surely, they are the holy ones!” Continue reading

Core Values of Stewardship

The rains came to the hollows of Appalachia. The forecast was that rains at the higher elevations would be especially heavy resulting in rising floodwaters in all places and flashfloods in the steeper hollows and valleys of the county. The emergency warnings were for all residents to seek high grounds and keep away from streams and rivers.

When the neighbors saw Jonas, an older resident and a member of the local congregation, they encouraged him to leave his homestead and come with them to higher ground. Jonas thanked them for their offer but said, “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.” The neighbors drove on up the road. Continue reading

Stewards of our Lives

I never thought about becoming a pastor. As many of you know, I entered the Franciscans as a “delayed” vocation. That’s a nice way of saying I wasn’t in my 20’s any longer. But generally, “delayed” means someone in their 30’s.  Fr. Tim Corcoran, the pastor at St. Mary’s in Lutz, a long-time parishioner at Sacred Heart, was already retired as a Federal judge when he entered the seminary. Does that make him, “double-delayed?” I fall in between, received into the Franciscans at the ripe old age of 48 – maybe “delayed plus”? Like Fr. Tim, I entered having discerned that my Time and Talent was meant to be given as a priest, serving the Church and the people of God. It was a decision about Stewardship, which in simple terms, is the act of putting God’s priorities before our own. Good Stewards do four things… Continue reading

Stewardship: Talent

Back in the day – which in my stories increasingly means “last century” – we did not start school until after Labor Day. So, the August startup of schools always surprises me. Even if the start of school is not on your radar, it was kinda’ hard to miss the crowds of parents and kids out there in the stores last weekend. People walking around with lists of things to purchase, stores with sales on school supplies, iPads, and everything needed to succeed. And what could be better? The tax-free weekend that accompanies the return to school! Continue reading

Stewardship: Time

“Summer is Here!” Come the end of May, I always think to myself, “OK…I am on the glide path to summer relaxation. There won’t be a lot going on in the parish. This will be awesome.” Every May I suffer from the same delusion. The truth is that there is a lot that goes on in the parish, especially as it pertains to planning for the coming “new year,” which begins in September. The summer is also when there is time to begin to flesh out ideas, programs, and initiatives for the fall. Continue reading

Pruning, Cutting, Being Connected

I grew up in the College Park section of Orlando. It has been around for a while. The first resident, John Ericsson, built his home in 1880.  In the 1920s there was a huge upswing in new homes and many of the neighborhoods east of Edgewater Drive were constructed. The area west of Edgewater was built in the late 1940’s and 1950’s.  College Park was the home to people as diverse as astronaut John Young and beat-generation writer Jack Kerouac. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when I was growing up there, everybody knew folks; you certainly knew everyone on your street and one or two streets in each direction.  You could mostly walk up and down the street in the early evening and meet and greet most folks.  They were on the porch when the afternoon humidity had lifted and you could catch a bit of coolness from the evening breeze. Then some darn fool went and made air conditioning popular. Continue reading