To date, about 20 percent of households have responded positively to a request to contribute to the Catholic Stewardship Appeal (CSA).
Despite a limited salary and a life dedicated to the Church, 60 percent of the priests have made CSA donations.
These priests have all taken to the pulpit to ask parishioners to be committed and joyful stewards. It should be no surprise that the reasons they preach for others also motivate their own giving.
Talking about stewardship, many have quoted a passage from Sirach. It begins, “In generous spirit pay homage to the Lord, be not sparing of freewill gifts” (35:7).
Father Christopher Cordes, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Columbia, believes freewill gifts are essential to who he is before God.
“I give in general as an expression of gratitude and a way of supporting efforts I believe in,” Fr. Cordes said. “I give to the Church in particular because I know what I have comes from God and the Church does the work of God in very tangible ways.
“I’ve been inspired by the generosity of many people throughout my Priesthood,” Fr. Cordes explained. “I’m especially inspired when people tell me how they came to realize the importance of tithing and what the Church means in their life.”
Sirach continues, “With each contribution show a cheerful countenance and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy” (35:8).
“Grateful giving is life-giving,” reported Monsignor David Cox, pastor of Mary Immaculate parish in Kirksville and the Mission of St. Rose of Lima in Novinger. “It brings joy and makes me aware of the world outside myself.”
He explained how his parents influenced his giving, particularly at Christmas.
“They called a family meeting and explained how difficult it was to give gifts since we all had so much,” Msgr. Cox said. “They suggested we give what we would spend on gifts to the charities of our choice. I think it has made Christmas much more special — more about Jesus and family.”
“Give to the Most High as He has given to you, generously, according to your means (35:9).
For Monsignor Gregory Higley, pastor of St. George parish in Hermann and Church of the Risen Savior parish in Rhineland, it is all stewardship.
“Like Adam, the first steward who named the animals and ruled over them in God’s stead, we are to be stewards by taking care of the world we’ve been given,” Msgr. Higley explained. “As a steward, I am meant to live in awareness that I am to use my gifts for God’s good.”
“Jesus tells us that those gifts are for the good of our neighbor,” he continued. “I have found that one of the best ways I can serve my neighbor is to make sure His Church is able to build up God’s Kingdom.”
The final verse of the passage is, “For the Lord is one Who always repays” (35:10).
For Father Michael Quinn, pastor of Holy Family parish in Hannibal, being grateful to God for all the many ways He has blessed us is at the heart of being a faithful Christian.
“I have been called to be generous in my response to God by the way I share of my time, my talents and my treasure,” Fr. Quinn said.
“As a steward of God’s good gifts, I will have to render an account of my stewardship to Him,” he explained. “So for some 40 years now I have made a faith commitment to tithe 10 percent to the Church, and over this time I have increased my tithe beyond 10 percent. I do this out of humble gratitude to God for all He has done and continues to do for me.”
For the record, while most of our priests give to the CSA, all of our bishops do.