Dear St. Gertrude Parishioners,
Compassion/mercy. Faith. Gratitude. These themes have been the focus of the Gospel passages we have listened to these three weeks. We have been invited to consider Stewardship here at St. Gertrude Parish: putting our faith into action through the use of our time, our talents, and our treasure. If I were to sum up the difference in attitude stewardship brings to our hearts and souls, I would say we are being good stewards when instead of asking, “What can you do for me today?”, we ask, “What can I do to make God’s love more present in my family, my community, and my world?”
That change in attitude changes everything! It takes the focus off of me and places it where it belongs—on all my sisters and brothers, especially the least among us. And it moves us out of a feeling of helplessness and powerlessness to being engaged disciples, doing the best we can with the gifts we have while leaving the rest up to God.
A few weeks ago, members of the Refugee Ministry spoke at all the Masses reporting on their wonderful work. Then the second collection was taken up to fund welcoming another refugee family to our community. That collection raised over $6,000—more than $1,000 over the amount needed to sponsor a family! But here was the next amazing thing—about five days later, I received a very warm note in the mail from some out-of-state folks who come here for Mass now and again because of relatives in the parish. The note explained how glad they were to be in Church when the Refugee Ministry representatives were speaking. They felt certain the
collection would be adequate to sponsor another family. And they were enclosing a check for $5,000—enough to sponsor another family—because no such ministry existed in their own home parish! Gratitude begot gratitude.
God indeed does work in mysterious and wonderful ways! As we spend some time reflecting on the stewardship of our “treasure” this month, let us each ask ourselves the simple questions: how well am I putting my faith into action? Is my compassion and mercy demonstrable in the way I treat others—especially those who are the least, the lost, the broken and suffering? Do I realize that faith pervades my entire life—my faith in my partner/spouse, my faith in my family members, my faith in my friends, my faith in my community? And finally, how well do I make gratitude for all I have an essential part of my every day life? Do I regularly thank God for my gifts? Do I regularly acknowledge the people who are part of my life and express my gratitude to each of them? Do I share my blessings with my community and parish, with those in need, with those who are today suffering?
Last year at this time, every parishioner was asked to consider what they were contributing weekly in the Sunday Offertory collection. Many thanks to all those who responded and increased their weekly offering! I encourage you again this year to consider how you use your treasure to put your faith into action. As you can tell from the financial report, although we are doing a little better, the Sunday offertory is still not meeting regular expenses. We will still end the year in a deficit. Recently, in an attempt to bring us closer to budget and out of deficit, some expenses have been cut. Because there is really no “fat” to cut, we did not replace the administrative assistant at Heart to Heart, and some of the pastoral staff are having their hours reduced by 20%. These moves will help us get closer to a balanced budget, but they will not be enough. Please spend some time in prayer and thoughtful reflection on your own weekly gift to the parish. And thank you for all you do for St. Gertrude Parish!
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
Rev. Richard J. Prendergast
Please click on the image above or the link below for a PDF of the Annual Report for fiscal year 2019.