Stewardship of Treasure

Hi All,

Today I once again want to speak to all of you about the Stewardship of Treasure.

The Our Lady of Refuge community has approximately 900 registered families listed as members of the parish. I am aware we have several families who come here regularly who are not officially registered in our parish. These numbers are the families that actually attend, if one wants to look at the size of the parish, we need to look at who attends. So, we have approximately 300 families/households that attend mass on a weekly basis. This is where our weekly offertory is generated. What we put down for our weekly offering, we need to pay our bills, and such is $12,200. Last year we did make that mark and slightly more, that would mean we brought in around $680,000.

The average income for our households is approximately $150,000/year. This is an average so some households are more and some households are less! Based on the amount of money we took in last year and the average income, each household, on average contributed $43.50/week. This works out to 2.2% of the total income. As you recall in my article last week, I spoke about the 4-3-2-1 model. Under that model, if on average everyone contributed 4% of their household tithe, we would be bringing into our collection, weekly, from each household $90/ week. If that were to happen, our weekly offertory would increase from $12,200 to $27,000/week. An increase in this would allow us as a parish to do so much more for all of you in helping you grow in your faith.

As we kick off our campaign to increase our offertory, next weekend you will be asked to fill out a commitment card of what you will contribute. I ask you to prayerfully this week, look into your hearts and see what you can truly do to increase your weekly offering for your second family of Our Lady of Refuge Parish and School.

I thank you all for the current generosity of your Stewardship of Treasure and hope you can prayerfully consider a most subtle increase.

Fr Ron Richards

Offertory Increase Campaign Preparation … Tithing

Hi all,

Next weekend, my homily is going to speak to stewardship and an increase in your offertory. We are officially kicking off an offertory increase campaign the weekend of September 23/24. This weekend, in preparation, I wanted to write this article on Tithing, something we are all called to do.

What is Tithing?

The aspect of tithing is found in scripture as far back as in Leviticus 27:30 and 34. “All tithes of the land, whether in grain from the field or in fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord as sacred to Him.” “These are the commandments which the Lord gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.”

Tithing, by definition, is giving of one’s income to the church and the poor. God gave Moses the commandment of tithing in 1300 BC for the purpose of supporting the Levite priests and their mission work. The practice of tithing has a strong precedent in the Bible and church history and is still relevant today. Even in the new testament in Matthew 19:21, Jesus told the rich man: “If you seek perfection go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Afterward, come back and follow me”.

How Much Should I Be Giving?

The understanding of how much to give at a minimum, which can be derived from scripture, is typically 10% of our income to the church and the poor. The maximum would be giving what Jesus said to the rich man in Matthew 19:21, which I referenced above.

Though tithing is a responsibility of all Christians, there are legitimate exceptions to tithing, such as family members living in poverty with hardly enough to cover their own basic needs. However, those who have the ability should make their best effort to tithe. I think one has to look at their budget and ask themselves, are the things I am buying necessary or not, what I am I doing with my discretionary income?

Regardless of circumstances, we should all try to give something no matter how small the gift. Jesus gave us a great example of this in Mark 12:41 -44, where the poor widow gave a few pennies in the collection box and Jesus said to His disciples, “She gave from her want, all that she had to live on.”

I myself tithe and I do tithe 10%. The model I have always used for myself is the following a 4-3-2-1 model. What does this mean? Let us say your annual income, after taxes is $100,000. That would mean you should tithe $10,000/year. From that $10,000, you would break this up in the following way:

$4,000 to your church
$3,000 to your preferred charitable organization/Catholic Services Appeal
$2,000 to other charitable organizations
$1,000 to randomly give out to homeless

What I do know is if all of us in the parish tithed, on average, the way we should our collection would be somewhere around $5,000/week higher than we currently take in. So, as we prepare to begin our offertory increase campaign, I ask you to look at the percentage you tithe on an annual basis. If you are tithing a total of 2%, I am not asking you to jump to 10%, that will take time. But begin that increase now.

Again, I will be preaching on the subject offertory increase next weekend as we begin our offertory increase drive.

Peace and I thank you for hearing me out on this very sensitive area.
Fr Ron Richards

2023 CSA Update and the Beginning of the School Year

Hi All,

I wanted to give you a bit of an update on CSA. As you know we have surpassed the target of $78,528 for the AOD. We do have a self-imposed target of $200,000. Again, these funds are going to go towards updating and renovating the social hall next summer. Currently our CSA total is $120,888.57, that makes us $42,360.57 over the AOD target. This is what we have pledged from 227 families, this is only 28% of the total families we have listed on our register. I am in the process of sending a letter to those families who have not responded to my CSA letters. We are still in need of raising another $80,000 to meet our parish goal of $200,000, I believe this should be very possible to do.

We are really drawing close to the beginning of school again, only a few weeks away. You will all be seeing some changes as the school year begins. We are trying to find better ways to make it safe for our children throughout the school day. We are going to be installing some gates at the entrances so that we can close those entrances off while the kids are outside playing. Also, we are hiring a school safety officer to be on site while the kids are in school. These are all things we see to make the school as safe as possible for the well-being of our young students.

Lastly, I thank all of you so much for the patience you have shown throughout the worship updates. We are almost at the finish line.

Peace and God Bless,
Fr. Ron Richards

Church Construction Project Update and Celebrating the Transfiguration of Christ

Hi All,

I hope you are well. I just wanted to take this moment to thank you all for your incredible patience during the construction we are doing in the church. Each week you come you can see the progress. It would be awesome if this is the last week of the project. And from the advances that have occurred at this point, if they are not completed this week, we should be very close. Again, thank you so much! I do hope you all like the minor changes we have made.

This weekend we are celebrating the Transfiguration of Christ. I would ask all of you to take time and recognize the Transfigured Christ in your Life. Remember Jesus is always there for you even through the darkest storms of your life.

Fr. Ron Richards

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