Text of Archbishop Nienstedt’s welcome address to attendees at the Archdiocesan Stewardship Conference Feb. 26.

Since I was named Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 2007, I have been impressed by the generous sharing of time, talent and treasure that I have found among the faithful of our Archdiocese. Even as that eventful year fades ever more into the past, I continually see new examples of how our brothers and sisters, both young and old, have a keen sense of what it means to “give back to God.” This practice of stewardship, flowing from a deep gratitude for the gifts of God, is central to our call to be the Lord’s disciples.

Christian stewardship begins with a sense of who we are as disciples of the Lord Jesus and what we have been given by means of that vocation. A good steward knows the he or she is not the owner, user or exploiter of the resources entrusted to his or her care, but is given those resources to preserve, manage and grow, all according to the will of the one who entrusts those resources. A good Christian steward, therefore, recognizes that all blessings come from the Lord and are to be used in service of all God’s children. As St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to Timothy, stewardship is profoundly community oriented. God exercises his own stewardship in calling all people to salvation. Our response to this generosity of God is to do what we can to be our brother or sister’s keeper, to offer ourselves and our goods to build up the community in God’s love. This indeed is a life-long project.

This concept of Stewardship – as a way of life – is focused not just on giving to a particular need or sacrificing a portion of our material resources, but rather must spring from our innate spiritual desire to give deeply of ourselves. And this desire lies within all of our hearts. Our loving God created us in His image with the potential — and the expectation — to share our gifts – all of them – with the world around us.

My hope is that we can work together to foster stewardship as a way of life within our homes, our neighborhoods and parishes and thereby build up even more vibrant and engaged communities throughout the twelve counties of this Archdiocese.

Essential to our success in accomplishing this vision will be the participation of clergy and laity alike in the encouragement and formation of each other within our parish communities. Those of you who gather here today have already done so much in this regard, and that is why I am so delighted to welcome all of you here this morning. You are called to be leaven in your home parishes and in your local communities.

I trust that today’s stewardship conference will help to inform and motivate all of us here. I trust it will prove, in the long run, to provide us with a new focus as we return home.

Let me take this opportunity to thank our presenters: Father Daniel Mahan, Ms. Leisa Anslinger, and Mr. Jim Kelly. I trust that you will inspire us by your presentations.

But before we begin the presentations, allow me to express to you all my personal gratitude for each of you here today. As integral parts of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, we all contribute our gifts and talents to building up that Body. We offer these gifts together, as a community, so that we might meet the challenge of God’s call to Stewardship as a way of life. May God bless you for sharing your gifts so generously in service to His Church!

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Category: Catholic Services Appeal

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