It's great to go on vacation and escape the everyday stresses and routines once and a while. It gives you valuable insight on how others live as well as that which you temporarily left behind. Of course one thing we can't vacation from is our Catholic faith. Our home parishes of Albertville and St. Michael have a long and rich history. We have been parishioners for only 15 years but it seems like we've been here all our lives.
We were recently on vacation in St. Augustine, Florida, where we attended Masses in the very first and oldest parish on the North American continent. It was established September 8th, 1565, by Spanish Catholic Priests. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine was not unlike our own. The homilies were very good, and Father Willis spoke eloquent about the problems facing his 458-year-old parish. They needed more readers, extraordinary ministers, servers, ushers, more folks for their music ministry and such. It occurred to me that these were some of the same needs at our own parishes here at Albertville and St. Michael.
I believe words hold great power when used correctly. I tend to be very literal. The word stewardship is a perfect word to attach to any parish in general and ours in particular. I think its great that we now "officially" belong to stewardship parishes. The definition of the word itself when applied for our purposes would surely be to leave in our care as stewards and protect something that is truly precious. Something that deserves and needs care and protection. Insomuch as our faith needs a strong and well-cared-for church and parish in order to thrive. This charge is not just for priests, deacons and administrators (they of course are immensely important), but for the parishioners themselves.
Parishioners will be there for the long road. No matter what trials befall the Church, a strong stewardship flock can save any Church from any trial. Many of our prayers have been answered here in our home parishes. We are somewhat insulated from the disturbing developments within the larger Catholic Church. We have been blessed with wonderfully faithful and good priests, deacons, church staff and volunteers. I believe the best way to ensure the continued strength of our parishes is to embrace the word stewardship. Each and every one of us hold the key as true stewards to this great and strong parish.
I will, God willing, go on many more vacations in my life and visit many churches. I also believe that I will always look forward to coming back to my home parish where I will hope to continue my role as a steward.