Hushed laughs spread quickly through the pews that Sunday.
A young couple who had fallen away from the church were visiting relatives and brought their 5-year-old to Mass. The child never had seen the inside of a church. When the collection basket arrived, the child’s face lit up with a mile-wide grin. Before his embarrassed parents could stop him, he was pulling out money by the fistful!
That situation was comical because we’re supposed to be putting in, not taking out. Yet parishes everywhere are short on funds.
If the parents of the child who took money from the basket had looked closely, they would have seen a surprising amount of $1 bills. That’s because Catholic financial giving has been declining over the last several decades.
The hard truth is that Catholics seem hesitant to contribute adequately to their church. At the same time, however, they still look to the church, especially its leaders and ministers, to “be there” for Sunday Mass, service to the sick and hurting, weddings, funerals and the rest.
We are in a period, though, when Catholics from all walks of life, must each consider if we are giving enough to our church in time, treasure and talent. The survival of our parishes may depend upon our willingness (parishioners and clergy alike) to take on stewardship as a way of life, to rise to the challenge of our times, to “grasp the vision” and allow our faith to guide every corner of our lives.