October 21, 2004
Dear brothers and sisters,
May the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus be with you. The Lord Jesus has blessed us so much that it is easy to take our riches for granted, surrounded as we are by so much abundance. Of course, the greatest gift of all that He has given us is the gift of Himself, profoundly present in our midst – as we gather in His Name, listen to His Word, receive His Body and Blood, adore His Real Presence, and use His many gifts to build His Kingdom. He has filled us with His Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who guides and directs our lives.
We have this beautiful Church to worship Him in, and the freedom to do so. We have a wonderful complement of brothers and sisters here to encourage us to truly live for God; individually, as families, and as a parish. His many gifts are truly without number. What does He ask us in return? It is a simple exchange; He gives us everything; we give everything back to Him. All that we have is a gift, St. Paul reminds us, and those gifts have one purpose, to build the Kingdom. I see many wonderful ways in which the Kingdom is being dynamically built here at Christ the King – folks responding to the gentle urges of the Spirit, as He guides us and directs us. We have been blessed with an abundance of new members, essentially doubling in size since we began our church building project several years ago. Periodically, we need to be reminded as to how we, as individuals and as a parish, need to respond to all of the gifts the Lord Jesus has given to us.
To this end, each year we will be devoting several weeks at Christ the King to Stewardship: how we respond to God’s call for our lives, and the gifts He has provided to us. Last year we participated in two phases, Time and Talent, of an excellent program developed by the United States Catholic Conference and the Diocese of Lansing called the Diocesan Stewardship Initiative. It is a comprehensive plan that invites parishes, and the individuals that make them up, to see their time, treasure, and talents, as gifts from God for the building of His Kingdom and invites them to explore more fully just how the Lord Jesus would have us use those gifts for His glory. It is a comprehensive look at how we build the Kingdom. It includes a special look at how we use our most cherished possession, our time, to cooperate with what the Lord Jesus is doing in our midst.
We have many people in Christ the King who have received excellent teaching on this in the past, including teaching on tithing, sharing gifts and talents and how to use our time wisely so that God would truly be served by what we do. However, with almost half the parish being new, I feel it is important to do some more comprehensive teaching on this, so that we are all ‘on the same page,’ as it were. It is important that the Parish as a whole experience the vision that the Lord Jesus has for us. The Diocesan Stewardship Initiative is an excellent tool to help bring this about.
Prayer is the most important component of time stewardship, and should be an essential part of how we use our time. To be good stewards of our gifts of talent, the Time and Talent Survey provides us with an opportunity to serve the brothers and sisters of the Parish and meet the needs of the Parish through various ministries and services. Last year our attention was drawn to these two areas, time and talent. This year, I would invite parishioners to look to the needs of the Parish in terms of their tithing, contributions to the building fund, and future fund raising endeavors. However, while giving generously is related to our stewardship of the gifts given to us, the real goal of the program is to change our lives. We want to draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, to dedicate or rededicate every aspect of our lives to God. In turn, we hope that our example, together with the example of other Catholics throughout the Church, will draw greater numbers of people to Jesus and His church.
The Lord Jesus has always richly blessed us. I have no doubt that as we continue to seek His guidance, He will continue to do so. My profound gratitude to all of you as you do so much to build His Kingdom in our midst. I commend you all to the care of the Mother of God, the protection of St. Michael, and the intercession of St. Joseph.
Your brother in the service of Christ the King,
Fr. Ed Fride, Pastor Christ the King Catholic Church