Definition of Stewardship
The 1992 U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, Stewardship . . . A Disciple’s Response, a steward is defined as a disciple of Jesus who “receives God’s gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly in justice with others and returns them with increase to the Lord.” Stewardship is a way of life that comes from seeing everything as a gift from God, changing the way we see things. The disciple is motivated by faith and a deep sense of gratitude, flowing from their faith, to a greater sharing of his/her time, talent and treasure with the Church and other worthy causes. Time, talent, and treasure are all shared as a gift, in a planned, proportionate, thankful, and sacrificial manner.
“Genesis tells us that God placed the first human beings in a garden to practice stewardship there – ‘to cultivate and care for it’ (Gn. 2:15) The world remains a kind of garden (or workshop, as some would prefer to say) entrusted to the care of men and women for God’s glory and the service of humankind. In its simplest yet deepest sense, this is Christian stewardship …”
Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993
“As each one of us has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10
The Diocese, and all parishes of the diocese will embrace Stewardship by developing or beginning to implement a plan to promote it, recognizing and acknowledging their role in assisting parishioners on their journey towards Stewardship as a way of life.
Why Is It Important to Foster the Practice of Stewardship?
By baptism, each person is called to be a disciple. Stewardship is an expression of who we are as disciples of Jesus, with the power to change how we understand and live out our lives. The people of God see themselves as stewards of God’s gifts. We know both from what scripture tells us and the examples of many, that those who choose to put their trust in God and live their lives as Christian stewards live life to the fullest. Through the practice of Stewardship, the Church is strengthened and built up. And through the Church, the world is transformed.
Diocesan Stewardship Goals
Goal #1: The Bishop and the Diocese of Orlando leadership (Curia, diocesan staff, Consultative and Advisory bodies) will:
- Affirm and promote Stewardship as a significant priority of this Diocese;
- Seek ways to integrate the teaching and practices within their areas of responsibilities;
- Develop and implement means to support parish efforts towards fostering Stewardship as a way of life, within each department’s area of focus;
- Sponsor educational opportunities about Stewardship for diocesan and parish leaders and all membership;
- Provide materials both for the yearly parish Stewardship renewal and to promote Stewardship as a way of life year-round;
- Incorporate Stewardship teachings, principles and practices into fund-raising, volunteer recruitment, budgetary decisions and statements of accountability.
Parish Stewardship Goals
- Especially through a focus on prayer and worship; help parishioners in an ongoing way to recognize, in faith, God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, and source of all they have;
- Foster year-round Stewardship education for all parishioners to help them better understand the meaning of Stewardship, how Stewardship affects every aspect of their lives, and ways to cultivate the gifts that God has given them;
- Establish a Stewardship Commission committed to Stewardship and dedicated to educating and promoting the teachings and practices of Stewardship within the parish;
- Ensure that the responsibilities for stewardship are made part of someone’s job description;
- Promote hospitality in the parish to evangelize, welcome, and strengthen community;
- Encourage contributions from parishioners to needs beyond the local church; as well as collections for the universal Church; and contributing a portion of parish income to worthy local, regional, national, and international programs that further God’s plan;