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What shall I return to the Lord for all His bounty to me? I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.”
. . . Psalm 116:12,14
“Measure you give will be the measure you receive.”
. . .Luke 6:38
Our Capital Campaign and stewardship is based on spirituality. Everything we do as a parish family has as its foundation our faith in Christ, even the way we contribute and offer our time, talent and treasure!
In the context of our faith we realize that every gift we possess comes from God. Our very lives are a gift from God. Our talents, success and material comfort all come to us through God’s goodness. There are over forty references throughout the scripture to the word tithe. This is a biblical spirituality based on giving back to the Lord a tenth of all we possess. We are encouraged to prayerfully consider all the blessings we have received from the Lord: our time, talent and treasure and make an offering back to Him. The promise of God is that he will not abandon anyone who serves Him faithfully. We will never go without. Sufficiency is the spirit of the scripture.
How do we determine the level of our generosity? Is it a random sort of thing if we happen to have change in our pocket or time to give and we are pressed into service? The Bible encourages us to begin our consideration by acknowledging all the blessings we have received. Once we have considered and grasped to some degree the overwhelming generosity of God, we are then better prepared to make an enlightened and reasonable decision for charity. If God has blessed us with ten apples, it is appropriate and right that we should offer Him at least one apple. If God has blessed our lives and our family with health, education, income, how can we deny God a tenth of all that we have been given? Uncle Sam will demand a far greater percentage and even the Diocese assesses the parishes to the tune of twenty-seven percent.
When people of faith embrace the spirituality of tithing, monumental good work is done in the name of God! There is a parish in our own Diocese which runs a tuition free elementary school. It is St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin in Whitehall, PA. It is the only parish in the Diocese, perhaps even in the State of Pennsylvania, that is truly tuition free! If you look up Fr. John Haney, the pastor, he will tell you it’s all due to a small portion of his flock embracing the spirituality of tithing. Approximately twelve percent of his total parish tithe two percent of their income to the parish. Can you possibly imagine what would happen if fifty percent gave two percent? Can you imagine what would happen in our parish if even ten percent of our 2,100 families gave two percent of their income to the works and needs of this parish?
Surprisingly you may already be giving a considerable amount to a wide range of charities, not only financially but also with your time and the sharing of your talent! What we are asking in the Capital Campaign is that you, after prayerful consideration, make a shift such that a larger portion goes towards the needs of your parish family at this particular time. We need a large segment of support in order to get through the process of building. Once these immediate needs are met you can prayerfully consider re-adjusting your giving plan back to a number of your favorite charities. Perhaps after a more full investigation of all the outreach and service activities of Sts. John and Paul Parish, you may realize that many of your favorite charities are already being assisted in some way through this very parish!
When you consider closely our financial reports each year, you will notice that twenty-four percent of our total income goes to the needs of the poor and a wide range of social concerns. We intend, as a parish family, to continue to maintain our level of charity to others even during this time of building. The apostolic work of this community must continue even while we work to build a Church and education center that is able to house and meet the spiritual and formation needs of our growing family. We welcome not only your financial support but also your wisdom, time and talent! Perhaps you would consider prayerfully embracing a commitment to your parish of two percent, three percent, or even five percent of your time, talent, and treasure! Can you even imagine what a difference this would make if even twenty percent or fifty percent of our families embraced their faith, our God and this parish in this way!
God will not be outdone in generosity! St. Paul tells us there is a time for “everything under the sun.” Now is the time for us to build!