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Stewardship examples: ‘It feels good to help’

Lonnie Hollaway folded boxes for his parish's Society of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, then later grabbed a screwdriver to fix a door handle.

Meanwhile, Joyce Hollaway interviewed a client who was struggling to pay a utility bill.

Just a typical day at Holy Rosary Parish in Warrenton. Pastor Father John Mayo praised the couple, organizers of the spring and fall fundraising dinners at the parish, for checking in to see what needs to be done around the parish. "They do it out of the kindness of their heart," he said.

Joyce Hollaway said they've been involved with the dinners for about 25 years, joking that it is "one of those jobs where you have to die or move out of the parish in order to get away from."

Efforts such as the ones the Hollaways do at their parish are examples of stewardship seen throughout the archdiocese. Stewardship involves joyfully returning to God a portion of our gifts. Stewardship Awareness Sunday was to be celebrated on Sept. 24.

Lonnie's a member of the Knights of Columbus and his wife is in the auxiliary. They got involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul about 30 years ago. The Hollaways have trucks and trailers, a valued commodity for those needing help to move items.

The Hollaways are retired and "we feel like we have the time" to help, Joyce Hollaway said. "It's kind of hard to say no. We have a lot of friends at church and it means a lot to us. It's rewarding, satisfying. We feel like we've been blessed, and we should return."

Lonnie Hollaway worked for a manufacturing firm in Warrenton that went out of business. He then worked as a maintenance technician for a business in O'Fallon. Joyce Hollaway was an administrative assistant at Monsanto and Solutia in St. Louis County.

The job loss and some health concerns they overcame "make you even more grateful for what you do have and want to help people who don't have their health and the support that we have," she said.

Lonnie Hollaway noted that his family didn't have many extras when he was growing up, yet he was taught to share. "It feels good to help anyone who needs help," he said.

Let stewardship ring

St. Justin the Martyr Parish in Sunset Hills is another busy place for parish volunteers. In May, for example, they came together for a Faith in Action service day, holding a spring clean-up day on the parish campus.

At Easter, another project at the parish came to completion — the reinstallation of the carillon bells welcoming people to the church for worship and tolling for funerals, weddings and on the hour.

Charter parishioners Jack and Jane Buelt, who live across the street from the parish, got the ball rolling when they approached the new pastor, Father Bill Kempf, about the need for the bells.

The parish had an electronic bell system when it formed more than 50 years ago, but after about 15 years it broke, wasn't repaired and eventually was removed. It took a year or so to complete the new project, which included updating the conditional use permit through the Sunset Hills Planning and Zoning Commission. Jack Buelt formed a committee of parishioners Joe Dugan, Rich Wagner and a member of the parish building and grounds committee, John Hoffmann. They researched bell systems, visited other churches and raised funds. Rather than do a parish-wide fundraiser, the Buelts pledged $3,000 and sent letters to some friends letting them know of their plans.

"It was the Holy Spirit in action," Jack Buelt said. "I didn't have to twist any arms. The pledges started pouring in, and in less than a week I had all the money."

He calls it a gift to the parish in honor of the pastor. "And the bells are a reminder of God's presence," he said. "When you hear that Angelus ring, you know God is present."

The Angelus is played at noon and 6 p.m. The bells also ring on the hour from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

St. Justin parishioners "are very generous," Father Kempf said. "There are all sorts of ways people give back out of their faith. They believe that God has given them skills, gifts, talent and time and so they respond to those gifts with grateful hearts." 

>> Stewardship

Stewardship is:

• An invitation to live with joy and gratitude for the blessings you have received.

• A way of life that hinges on developing a personal relationship with Jesus and is the result of spending time with Him.

• An acknowledgement that since God showers His mercy on us and provides His gifts, we return our thanks with gifts of time (prayer), talent (participation) and treasure (generosity). Everything we have and everything we do is a result of some gift that God has placed into our hands.

• Teachings that come directly from the Gospel.

• Returning a portion of our gifts to God

• Trusting God. We believe that our generous God will always provide for us.

• Counter-cultural. While society encourages us to continually strive for more and more, stewardship helps us to recognize that we already have more than enough. In fact, we have enough to share.

• Discipleship. We strive to put God first in all things and to follow where Our Lord might lead. 

>> Resources

The theme of Stewardship Awareness Sunday, celebrated on Sept. 24 throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis, is "Grateful and Generous." This year is the 25th anniversary of the U.S. bishops' pastoral letter "Stewardship: A Disciple's Response."

The archdiocesan Office of Stewardship provides a number of excellent resources on stewardship. For more information visit www.archstl.org/stewardship or call (314) 792-7680. 

'Jesus, the Perfect Steward'

Almighty Father, we thank you for all the gifts you have given to us.

We thank you for our lives, for our loved ones,

for all that we have and for all that we are.

Most of all, we thank You for Jesus, Your Son and our Redeemer,

who came among us to show us the way to eternal life.

Jesus was the perfect Steward of Your Gifts.

He taught us to have complete trust in You.

He helped us to understand that it is better to serve.

He showed us that giving of self is an important part of following Him.

May the offerings of our time, our talents and our material resources be made in the same spirit of sacrifice that Jesus taught us by His own life and death.

This we ask, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

2017 Stewardship Sunday materials 


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