More about recognizing God rather than money
Stewardship is more about recognizing God rather than money
By Jeff Graham
The Archdiocese of Vancouver has been stressing lately that stewardship is about a lot more than just money.
For Father Robert Wong, SJ, the director of the newly formed stewardship commission, properly maintaining and managing our God-given gifts of time, talent, and treasure is at the heart of stewardship, and goes far beyond the amount of money put into the collection basket each week.
"It's not all about money," Father Wong told The B.C. Catholic. "The treasure we receive is a very small part of stewardship. Stewardship is more of a recognition that God is the giver of all gifts, and it's about having an attitude of gratitude."
As Archbishop Raymond Roussin of Vancouver explained, stewardship is a way of life, and is meant to draw us closer to the love of God.
"Having been a priest for many years in different schools, parishes and dioceses, I'm well aware that the thrust of true stewardship is a realization of Christ's call to be generous, to be kind, and to give of oneself," said the archbishop. "When I think of the stewardship process I think of the importance of individuals giving of their time, talent and treasure."
Father Wong echoed Archbishop Roussin's words by saying that stewardship in the best sense flows from the baptismal call of Catholics to follow Christ and give of themselves.
"It's a way of life and a spirituality; it's grounded in God as the creator and giver of all gifts," explained Father Wong. "What we have is not ours; rather, what we have are gifts from God that have been entrusted to us, and with that in mind, we need to ask ourselves how we are using these gifts as a responsible stewards to build up the kingdom of God."
"Knowing a bit of his background," said Archbishop Roussin, "I trust he will be able to make this office not only a successful one, but one that brings us to understand stewardship more profoundly. I sincerely pray that this office will also be blessed by the Holy Spirit's presence."
The newly formed commission is a direct result of the archdiocesan synod, which recommended that the archdiocese establish a time, talent, and treasure stewardship program. Father Wong, a Jesuit priest, said the Ignatian spirituality of his order helps him come to a deeper appreciation of the spirituality of stewardship, and will give him guidance in chairing the commission.
"For me as a Jesuit, it's very much a part of the Ignatian charism and the spiritual exercises," he explained. "It's about seeing God as the creator, and asking ourselves how we use his gifts to build up the kingdom."
Father Wong said Catholics are called to be stewards of all the gifts God has given them, whether it's taking care of the environment, renovating their church, or taking care of their families. He also emphatically stated that stewardship needs to be grounded in the love of Christ.
"It can take a while for people to grasp all this," said Father Wong. "That's why you have to invest in people and in their formation. It's a one-on-one conversion process."
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