Stewardship of self and collaboration discussed during day of renewal

by Matthew Smith

North Texas Catholic

April 3, 2019

Bishop Michael Olson delivers the keynote address at the Day of Renewal: Building His Kingdom Together at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Keller, Saturday, March 30, 2019. (NTC/Rodger Mallison)


KELLER — Members from 15 parishes in the Diocese of Fort Worth reflected on several facets of stewardship during the fourth annual Diocesan Stewardship Day of Renewal held March 30 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller. Bishop Michael Olson and Archdiocese of Indianapolis pastoral staff member Ken Ogorek led the discussions, which examined stewardship from both the personal and community levels.

Bishop Olson, while celebrating the Mass that opened the day's activities, contrasted the approach to God as taken by a Pharisee and a tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee boasts and holds himself above others while the tax collector offers a simple prayer of humility as he seeks mercy for his sinfulness.

“The Lord doesn't desire distance from us,” Bishop Olson said. “Rather, He desires that we each draw closer to Him. Our acts of stewardship are not meant to keep God at a distance, nor are they meant for us to manipulate God to do what we want Him to do.”

Those we admire we tend to do so from a distance, Bishop Olson said.

“The Lord desires followers, not admirers,” Bishop Olson said. “Why we're here today is to understand the lens we use to view the world and how it can be used to strengthen our discipleship of the Lord. Also, what that means to the Church and how stewardship is looked at as part of our membership and discipleship.”

Diocesan Director of Stewardship Diana Liska urged attendees to make the most of the day “as a day of spiritual renewal and fellowship, as well as a reminder that we're not alone in this journey.”

Ken Ogorek, Director of Catechesis, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, speaks at the Day of Renewal: Building His Kingdom Together at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Keller, Saturday, March 30, 2019. (NTC/Rodger Mallison)

Ogorek's first talk, “Growing Closer to God,” touched upon the personal aspects of stewardship and discipleship and discerning one's place in the quilt of community.

“Days like this are great opportunities to revisit the basics to remind ourselves of things we probably already know,” Ogorek said. “I don't know that I'll say one new thing today. But at times there's value in revisiting some of the basic things we lose track of because we're busy.”

Help in discerning matters of stewardship and other spiritual questions is available through the Holy Spirit, Ogorek said.

Ogorek pointed out how time spent with a loved one — be it quiet time, thanksgiving, or conversation — aligns to the various methods of prayer to God and how those methods bring us closer to God and increase our zeal for stewardship and discipleship.“If anything you take from today, I hope it's to grow a bit more aware of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives and the power He has to renew us,” Ogorek said. “It's never a question of the Holy Spirit not being there or having the ability and desire to do these things for us. I know in my case it's just a matter of I need to be more aware of that and open to it.”

“The important thing to remember is that even though God doesn't send Post-it notes, He's constantly reaching out to us,” Ogorek said. “We have to pay attention and be persistent.”

Ogorek spoke of the role charisms play in elevating stewardship to the community level.

“The Holy Spirit gives everyone at least one personalized gift that they are to use in serving others,” Ogorek said. “Being aware of your charisms helps you figure out, by God's grace, where you fit in this puzzle of family life, parish life, and the broader community.”

Ogorek cited Patrick Lencioni's book, The Ideal Team Player. Although the book addresses business issues, Ogorek said the values of being humble, hungry, and people-smart applies to stewardship and strengthening one's relationship to God as well.

Ogorek concluded by stressing that teamwork is key to successful stewardship.

“Another person is never a means to an end.” Ogorek said. “We don't use people to accomplish something, even if we're trying to accomplish something good. People are always ends in themselves to be loved and collaborated with.”

St. Michael Parish of Bedford Stewardship Committee Chairman Tracy Gomes said he's attended all four renewal days.

“It was great to see the turnout, and this was larger than the others I've attended,” Gomes said. “I thought the theme of drawing closer to God and collaborating with others was great too.”

Attendees take part in the Day of Renewal: Building His Kingdom Together at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, Saturday, March 30, 2019. (NTC/Rodger Mallison)

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioner Roberta Walker, who is involved in several ministries, gave the day high marks.

“This is my first time to attend and I loved it,” Walker said. “I thought the topics were appropriate for the Lenten season but also for building community stewardship throughout the year.”

The series, Bishop Olson said, has enriched the diocese.

“It's enabled us to become a little more focused in our direction and priorities,” Bishop Olson said. “I appreciated what [Ogorek] had to say, especially in the development of spirituality. We have to have a self-awareness in order that we can give of ourselves.”

 

KELLER — Members from 15 parishes in the Diocese of Fort Worth reflected on several facets of stewardship during the fourth annual Diocesan Stewardship Day of Renewal held March 30 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller.

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