The Personal Stewardship Journeys of St Mark Parishioners
Click here to read about Father David's Stewardship Journey
Mary Strickland - "He is waiting to fill you back up!"
I have come to understand that – for me – stewardship is not about the Ministries I am part of here at St. Mark – though I am part of a few - or even about how much money I give; though I do that too, but STEWARDSHIP is about how I live my life in response to our God whose love for me is infinite and unconditional, and whose blessings seem limitless.
I didn’t always look at stewardship this way. Like many of you, my journey has taken me from my pre-VII childhood days of never hearing the word, to figuring out it was “Oh – the money talk” to beginning to hear the word... Time, Talent and Treasure . I remember thinking at that time, I was comfortable with the time I was giving…. I was a pretty active volunteer……….. as for talent, I wasn’t too sure I had any, so I didn’t worry about that – and the treasure part ……….well I was busy being a stay-at-home mom, and there barely seemed enough of THAT to go around. But we did give money – and we started to actually write weekly checks…….. so it was, “planned.” So I was pretty sure we were being good stewards.
Many years, and a few moves later, we landed in Florida and I connected with this new community that was being formed. Right from the beginning, I LOVED being part of St. Mark. For the first time, I began to feel a great PRIDE in being Catholic. As I volunteered and grew in my faith, I developed a great sense of responsibility to this community and knew I had to support it. My giving became, planned and budgeted and regular ……… I supported the building fund, and later the debt reduction fund – the yearly Bishop appeals, SVdP …….and I finally thought I was catching on to what stewardship meant.
HAH! A few years ago, something happened that made me acutely aware of God’s presence in my life – a presence that is personal, intimate and active. I walked away from my encounter with him a changed person. I began to see God’s presence everywhere I looked! And I began to live a life of gratitude. I have come to see that EVERYTHING, absolutely everything – every breath I draw, every moment of time that I am allotted , …….any and every iota of talent that I may possess, and EVERYTHING I treasure – Yes, of course, my money – but also my other treasures, my husband and my family, my faith, my faith community – everything is pure gift from this incredibly generous God of ours.
He fills me with his grace, his gifts and his love. I am totally sated by Him. I can hold no more.
And here, I think is my secret of Stewardship. Because it is only when I take all that He gives me, turn around and offer it back to HIM, by sharing it with others, only then, do I have enough room for what He is still giving me. Everything I do in Ministry; every penny I give – He returns to me at least a hundredfold. I think, finally, this IS stewardship – But I have thought that before - and if I’ve still more to learn – I can’t WAIT to see what he still has in store for me.
SO that’s my story – and my message to you is a simple one. Wherever YOU are on your journey, God is right there, waiting. Meet him, count your blessings and then give them away. If you already give a little time, give a little more. If you give money – give more! He is waiting to fill you back up! Of that I am certain.
Al Speranza - "I can see myself doing this forever"
Being a Eucharistic minister has provided Al Speranza with a deeper meaning of the transformation of bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ. He now says, “I can see myself doing this forever.” His commitment to become a Eucharistic minister evolved over time. Lay witnesses’ stories inspired him. They said that we should challenge ourselves. A friend from church said that St. Mark’s had a need for more ministers. That is when Al said, “It just felt right”.
At the three hour training session, he was relieved to hear that he should focus on one ministry. Other ministries would not call him to volunteer for more hours. Al began his ministry at the Christmas Eve Night Mass at St. Mark’s.
He and his wife, Lisa, have been members of St. Mark’s for eleven years.
Joe and Sue Migliardis - "'There are many needy people in our community'
The Migliardis have always been in service to others throughout their 48 year marriage. Dr. Joe is an internist and Sue is a surgical nurse. Both are retired but still want to give of themselves. The Migliardis have been parishioners since St. Mark’s Masses were held at the Presbyterian Church. They were financially committed to the church but they wanted to take their stewardship to a new level.
Joe and Sue became acquainted with St. Vincent de Paul Ministry through fellow parishioners. Joe accompanied another Vincentian on his in-house visits to people in the local community. These people did not qualify for welfare but still needed help. They learned that St. Vincent de Paul assists these families by donating food, money for rent and utilities, shoes and supplies for school children, and at Christmas time, they distribute gifts to children and seniors.
Now, Joe and Sue are very active in the ministry by giving of their time at the food bank at St. Mark’s. Both of the Migliardis stress, “We did not understand how many needy people there are in our community,even in our own zip code”.
They are very concerned about everyone. Joe and Sue divide their time between having fun with their six grandchildren and helping those who are less fortunate at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.
If you would like to be a good steward and possibly join The Vincentian family, please contact Pat Doone at firstname.lastname@example.org