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  1. 1. The Lenten season prepares us for the celebra- tion of Easter. It is a time for Christians to embrace prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in a more concerted way. For some it is a time of healing, an oppor- tunity to repair their spiritual brokenness. For oth- ers it is simply a good time to cultivate their spiri- tual lives in a more disciplined manner. The goal of Lenten practices: to prepare ourselves to enter into the paschal mystery of Holy Week with a more humble spirit and determination to follow Jesus Christ. This ancient triad of prayer, fasting and almsgiving offers wonderful spiritual benefits. Being a good steward of these gifts by planning ahead and following through is essential to having a fruitful Lenten experience. Prayer: What greater gift could we give ourselves during Lent than the gift of prayer? The fruits of developing a disciplined time of prayer are bountiful. Make plans for a prayer time each day. Do not wait until you “find time” but make a time of prayer your priority. This will involve sacrifice on your part – perhaps giving up some televi- sion viewing time, using part of your lunch hour, or getting up in the morning earlier than usual. Along the way, spend some time in extra prayer with the community: a weekday Mass, Stations of the Cross. Whatever you decide, resolve to spend more time with the Lord. Fasting: Christian stewards understand that all they receive, including the bounti- ful food and drink that is often taken for granted, ultimately comes from the Lord. By denying ourselves food for a time, we are reminded in physical and emotional ways of the Lord’s generosity. As we fast, thoughtlessness is replaced by gratitude and mindfulness of the needs of others. The ancient practice of fasting also conditions us for greater spiritual practices. Incorporate some aspect of fasting from food or drink into your Lenten practice, something in addition to the sacrifices we make on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. Almsgiving: This spiritual discipline heightens our sense of generosity. Just as an in- crease in prayer and fasting leads us to be more grateful for the gifts we’ve received, and promotes a greater awareness of others, almsgiving helps us to reach out to oth- ers in gratitude. Just as we don’t “squeeze in” time to pray during Lent, we also don’t scrutinize our checkbook when being generous with others. Again, make a plan and let a meaningful sense of sacrifice be your guide. Be a Good Steward of the Lenten Season A STEWARDSHIP PRAYER for March God of mercy, You have given us this special time to reflect on our lives, believe in the Good News and draw closer to You. May this season of Lent help us be good stewards of this time: to fast and pray, be more generous and show others how to live in Christ. Let us see each day of this season as a new opportunity to renew our lives and gain a deeper appreciation of Your active presence in us and our community of faith. Give us the grace to see Your face in others, especially the poor and those who suffer. And through your Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of Your love so that we may be better stewards of Your redeeming work throughout the world. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen. International Catholic Stewardship Council CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIPMarch 2014 • e-Bulletin 2014 Orlando, Florida October 5-8 For some it is a time of healing, an opportunity to repair their spiritual brokenness. For others it is simply a good time to cultivate their spiritual lives in a more disciplined manner.
  2. 2. Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo SaintTuribius of Mongrovejo is the patron saint of Peru. He was the archbishop of Lima from 1579 to 1606, and it is because of his missionary work and commitment to social justice as archbishop that he has been a popular saint in Latin America for over three centuries. He had a favorite stewardship message which he used often in his teaching and preaching: Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it. St. Turibius was born in 1538 to an affluent family of the Spanish nobility. He was well-educated; a professor of law at the renowned University of Salamanca in Spain. He was ordained a priest in 1578 at age 40 and sent to Peru to become the archbishop of Lima in May 1579. Reportedly, St. Turibius baptized a half million people; among them were St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres. He is also responsible for building many roads, schools, churches and hospitals in Peru. In 1591, he established the first seminary in the Western hemisphere in Lima. He was responsible for a new catechism in Spanish and two local native dialects. Promoting social justice was a major concern of St. Turibius. He devoted himself to serving the poor and championing the rights of indigenous peoples against the oppressive rule of civil authorities. The governors of Peru mounted continued opposition to the archbishop because of his challenges to their injustices. The Archdiocese of Lima consisted of 180,000 square miles, (by comparison, the state of California is 164,000 square miles). He traveled the length and breadth of the archdiocese three times, mostly on foot and often alone, exposed to the tropical elements and without protection against hostile tribes and animals of prey. On one of his missionary journeys, he contracted a fever that would end his life. He died on March 23, 1606. He was canonized in 1726. Stewardship Saint for March If you are searching for a way to bring Lenten stewardship practices home to your family in a very visual way, consider Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl. Rice Bowl incorporates the three pillars of Lent,prayer,fastingandalmsgiving,while raising our consciousness of the poor and vulnerable in our world community. Last year, 13,000 Catholic communities participated in Rice Bowl. If your parish or school is one of these, you can pick up a symbolic cardboard rice bowl and calendar on Ash Wednesday. The calendar provides you with a wealth of resources for spending Lent in solidarity with the poor: daily reflections, stories of hope from the people CRS serves throughout the world, weekly prayers, and meatless recipes from far-off lands. The money you, or your children, save from sacrifices and fasting during Lent is placed in the Rice Bowl. For Christian stewards, using the Rice Bowl in a conscientious and prayerful way can be a great approach to bring spiritual depth to Lent for you and especially your children, who can learn a lot from putting their faith into action. Catholic Relief Services is the official relief agency of the United States Catholic Bishops. The Rice Bowl project was initiated in 1975, and last year, Rice Bowl raised $7 million for the poor. Of this amount, 75% was distributed in the 40 countries which CRS serves worldwide. The other 25% was given to food pantries and soup kitchens in the United States. Rice Bowl helps raise awareness� of poverty and of the vital Christian mission of service to and connectedness with the poor. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been quoted as saying, “Where do I find hope? In the flesh of Jesus who suffers, and in true poverty. There is a connection between the two.” A Lenten Stewardship Idea: Rice Bowl
  3. 3. The ICSC annual conference is widely recognized as the most valuable opportunity for those involved in Christian stewardship to connect with others who share their commitment to teaching stewardship as a way of life. Many say meeting others with similar experiences is the main reason they attend the ICSC conference! The ICSC annual conference is filled with sessions and forums that provide practical information you can take home and use immediately. You will be exposed not only to topics that offer fundamentals but also new ideas, innovations and strategies! The ICSC annual conference is a great opportunity to get away from your busy schedule to pray, reflect on your own life of faith, listen to inspiring reflections and participate in invigorating liturgies! Stewarding Our Families at Home and in the Church NETWORKLEARNGROW The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa is considered a premier Orlando hotel. This resort hotel provides comfort and relaxation in an ideal location. Situated just across the street from Downtown Disney and close to all the major attractions, this hotel is in a perfect location for extended stays in Orlando. When booking your room, call Plaza Meetings at (518) 785-3392 and request information on special packages for extending your stay before or after the ICSC conference. 2014 October 5-8 | Orlando, Florida REGISTER TODAY! ICSC MEMBER EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION $499 visit
  4. 4. An attitude of gratitude is one of your best allies in developing the will to persevere. As with the previous eight virtues discussed in this series the ability to persevere is strengthened when we are grateful. Gratitude plays a vital role in developing the ability to persevere because any time you are striving to become a better disciple and steward there will be setbacks along the way. Setbacks can either defeat us or define us. Being grateful for the progress you are making along the way gives you the strength to persevere and continue the journey. The stewardship lifestyle is very counter cultural. People may question why anyone would choose such a path. This is why perseverance is so important in making stewardship a way of life. When you choose the path of stewardship, you may struggle at first with the initial changes required of you to become a better steward. It is not always easy to separate yourself from the demands and possessions of this world. However, by persevering in your stewardship journey you will experience many surprising rewards along the way. “Stewardship is the right thing to do; its rewards can’t be kept out!” (Most Rev. Eugene Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of Wichita, Kansas). For example, a healthier mind and body is one of the rewards of persevering in stewardship. Our bodies are a gift from God for which we should first and foremost be grateful and of which we should be good stewards. If you have a goal of being in better shape physically, mentally or spiritually reaching that goal will require some perseverance, and discipline. With every dream of something better there is always some struggle between the dream and the realization of that dream. The formula is always the same: Dream – Struggle – Victory! It takes perseverance to get through the struggles and experience victory. Who you are is God’s gift and who you become is your gift to God. Those who become their best, as God intended, rely on the power of the Holy Spirit working in them, “His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:21). They will also have developed the habit of persevering. God wants to sculpt you into something great and your cooperation is required. Be patient and persevere! This article is part nine in a series of 12 reflections on stewardship virtues by ICSC member, Dan Potvin, Director of Stewardship for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, Canada. It takes perseverance to get through the struggles and experience victory. PERSEVERANCE
  5. 5. Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time • Weekend of March 1/2 We are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”This appears to be a rather bold claim by Saint Paul to the Corinthians in today’s second reading. We are only the manag- ers, the stewards, the caretakers of God’s divine revelation.  We are accountable to the Lord for this unimaginably awe-inspir- ing gift bestowed upon us. Good stewards who are faithful to the Gospel know they are not permitted to adjust the message to suit their circumstances, please themselves or others, or to avoid criticism. Good stewards strive to speak and act in a way that is consistent with Christ’s teachings. As we approach the Lenten season, let’s reflect on how we may have twisted the Gospel message to suit our own needs. First Sunday of Lent • Weekend of March 8/9 In today’s Gospel reading we listen to the confrontation be- tween Jesus and the devil, who thought he might tempt Jesus to forget who he was and commit a grievous sin when he was most vulnerable. Jesus had just spent 40 days and nights out in the desert, alone, away from civilization. He was hungry, thirsty, and tired. If there ever was a time to tempt Jesus, that was it. Temptations to sin come at us every day, from many directions and in many different forms. When the temptation to sin tries to overcome us, how do we react? Do we consciously remind ourselves that we are followers of Christ? Is there a time this week when you have needed to confront a temptation to sin? What lessons did you take away from the experience? Second Sunday of Lent • Weekend of March 15/16 In today’s second reading, Timothy is issued a strong directive: “Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” For the early Christians this� could mean tor- ture and execution. For most Christians today enduring hardship for the gospel might include accepting ridicule or mockery, or the suggestion that we lack sophistication. Nevertheless, in his A STEWARDSHIP MOMENT letters, Saint Paul is adamant that we should not be ashamed of being followers of Christ. Good stewards are not ashamed of their allegiance to Christ.They do not hide their faith. Reflect on this question: Are you willing to speak about following Christ Jesus no matter who your listeners happen to be? Third Sunday of Lent • Weekend of March 22/23 In today’s first reading from the Book of Exodus, we hear of the hardships endured by the people of Israel on their wilderness journey out of Egypt. The wilderness is a demanding place for human life. Just trying to survive can seriously test our faith. In the Israelites’ journey away from a life of slavery and oppres- sion, harsh conditions challenged their trust in the God who liberated them. But their transition brings them closer to God, and they are constantly reminded of the Lord’s gracious provi- sion and nurturing. Good stewards believe the Lord’s presence transforms their own “wilderness” experiences into a place of divine mercy and nourishment. Reflect on your own “wilder- ness” experiences. How has God been present for you and nourished you in times of transition? Fourth Sunday of Lent • Weekend of March 29/30 In today’s second reading Saint Paul urges us to try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. The Bible often emphasizes our need to please God at all times and Saint Paul would find it inconceivable that any follower of Christ would lack a desire to please the Lord. But how do we discern what pleases the Lord? It has been said that one of the quickest ways to get a glimpse into what pleases God is to read the Bible. Reading the Bible reinforces what we have heard preached and taught about God’s will. The practice also transforms our understand- ing of God’s desires for us. If you now read the Bible, how has it helped you understand what pleases God? If you don’t read the Bible, why is that? We encourage you to check out the ICSC Forum at under ‘members’ where members can share ideas and questions. The Parish Stewardship section is reviewed every day by members of the Parish Stewardship Education and Services Committee. International Catholic Stewardship Council 1275 K Street, NW, Suite 880 Washington, DC 20005-4077 T: (800) 352-3452 F: (202) 682-9018 •