Investing in Lourdes - 2017 Stewardship Campaign
Our family’s journey with Lourdes began in 2012 when my brother, Mark, and sister-in-law, Janet, were married here. Our connection deepened in 2014 when my twin nephews, Andy and Ben, were baptized here. Being Andy and Ben’s godmother gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own faith and how I could bring the Catholic faith to them. I wanted them to love being Catholic. I also wanted to be involved in their parish.
Andy and Ben are involved at Lourdes and love it as much as we do. This past weekend they helped their dad and grandpa with Dinner for the Hungry. They enjoy playdates with the Lourdes Young Families group. We’ve started faith traditions like bringing them to Mass on their birthday and celebrating their namesake feast days - St. Andrew and St. Benjamin.
When we’re on walks in the neighborhood, Benji will excitedly point out the Lourdes’ steeple and shout, “My church!” What I love about Benji’s comment, “My church”, is I think many of us feel this way. “This is my church. I love this church and I’m proud of it.”
What do you love about this church? What has this church meant to you? That’s what stewardship is all about. Maybe it’s the liturgies that have touched you. Or the music. Maybe you were married here or had a family member baptized here. Maybe you experienced the grace of the sacraments or deepened your faith through a talk or retreat. Maybe you’ve met new friends here.
We are blessed with so much at Lourdes. We have a beautiful and historic church ready to celebrate our 140th anniversary. We have beautiful liturgies and strong leadership from Father Griffith and Deacon Winninger. We have multiple service opportunities like Dinner for the Hungry, Sharing & Caring Hands, Abria, Rachel’s Vineyard, and the Tijuana Mission. We also have some of the best educational programs in the archdiocese. And…we have fun! We have the Lourdes Block Party, French Meat Pie Making, Feast Day Dinner, rosary making, fish fries, and movie nights. It takes many talented volunteers to run all these ministries.
What I learned in the last year is that God is always working in our hearts and in our lives. He’s also working in the hearts of those around us.
A year ago I was sitting in the pew holding a stewardship card, not sure what to mark. My dad and I had just returned from a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. The Pope had just visited the US and left us with a powerful message, “So, what are you going to do?” I wanted to give my time, but I wasn’t sure how. I prayed on it. In January, Father Griffith, asked if I’d consider being the Director of Operations for six months given my experience at the University of Colorado and Accenture. I said, yes.
I learned a lot working for the church. It was the hardest job I’ve ever had. While many jobs are Monday-Friday 8-6, the church’s work is 7 days a week / 24 hours a day. I didn’t realize how under-funded the church is. I thought the church received money from the archdiocese or Rome. We cover all of our own costs by what you and I put in the collection basket and EFT. We run a church, a parish house, and a rectory. We have staff salaries, benefits, utility bills, maintenance, preservation costs, events, education, etc. I also didn’t realize how understaffed the church is.
One of the happy surprises was seeing all of you in action. YOU are amazing! Some volunteer roles are visible, but many are not. There are church cleaners and money counters. People who care for liturgical linens and candles. Carpenters, painters, gardeners. Engineers, accountants, web experts. It’s beautiful how people use their gifts. There are also people who make generous donations to help us achieve big goals. This does not go unnoticed. We are very grateful.
My ask today…invest in Lourdes. Invest in the joy of our Catholic faith. Invest in our rich history and our potential. When you receive your stewardship packet ask yourself, “Could I give 25-50% more this year?” Just consider it. When I did, I realized I could, and I wanted to.
November is the month of gratitude. What I love about gratitude is what we focus on, multiplies. What are you grateful for at Lourdes? What can we multiply? Our communities could all use a little more light, love, kindness, hope and compassion these days. Lourdes represents all of these good things! Let us be the face of Christ. Let us bring that light, love, hope and joy to others! Thank you for investing your time, talent and treasure at Lourdes. God bless! -- Julie Ditter
Our Lady of Lourdes is an inviting and exciting parish because so many parishioners volunteer their time. We encourage all to find a volunteer opportunity that fits their schedule and interests.
Our Lady of Lourdes offers many opportunities to share your talents with the parish.
Strong parish finances are critical to the success of our parish. Sustainable finances include both generous contributions from parishioners and judicious use of those gifts.