Stewardship – Gratitude glued to action

| September 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

The following is the second in a three-part series on stewardship. This article was written by Mike Halloran, director of the Office of Development and Stewardship for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and Bob Zyskowski, associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit.

As covered in the last edition of The Catholic Spirit, stewardship as a way of life can have astonishing implications for our relationships and our daily lives.

We can experience life-shaping changes of mind and heart when we commit ourselves to the Lord — recognizing God as the origin of life, receiving gifts in a gratitude that is glued to action with an eagerness to demonstrate our love for God and neighbor.

With the understanding of stewardship as “gratitude glued to action,” we want to share with you a few stories of faithful Catholics from across our archdiocese who are inspiring examples of living stewardship as a way of life every day in their service to God, church, and their brothers and sisters.

Basilica of St. Mary has ‘Energizer bunny’ in 83-year-old

Mary Rose Goetz is an inspiring example of someone who lives biblical stewardship every day. A member of the Basilica parish since 1961 with her husband, Frederick, a former parish council president there, Goetz has been active in many ministries, according to Terri Ashmore, managing director at the Basilica.

Some consistent threads are her work with the RCIA program, the St. Vincent de Paul Outreach ministries, Eucharist for the Homebound and the Global Stewardship Team.

“Mary Rose is like the Energizer bunny,” Ashmore said. “Now age 83, she still runs rings around most of our younger parishioners.”

A retired public health nurse who at one time worked in the chemical dependency program at St. Mary’s Hospital, Goetz simply says, “I have a multiplicity of interests, but then also we’re meant to be as active as we can, especially in the church, and to do those things we believe in.”

She believes in working for world peace, especially through health initiatives, in being present for those learning more about the Catholic faith, and in helping those in need.

“The volunteer ministries present themselves just because we’re located downtown,” Goetz said. Along with fellow parishioners she helps make some 500 sandwiches a week that the parish gives to the homeless and near-homeless that come to the basilica’s door.

It’s carrying on work similar to what Frederick was active in while he was physically able, giving people a hand up out of poverty through the Basilica’s Pathways program.

“Everything we do speaks to Matthew 25 (‘What you do for those in need, you do for Christ’),” Mary Rose said. “I think that’s what the Basilica is all about.”

Multimedia guy tells Africans’ story, thanks to mom

Mark Anderson is a television producer/director who’s worked on KARE, on KSTP, on “Dateline NBC,” even on “Bizarre Foods” for the Travel Channel.

“One of my prayers when I got out of local news,” Anderson said, “was to ask God to utilize my storytelling skills on a global level. I wanted to do something more meaningful.”

Now he’s headed to Africa to help tell the story of the plight of the people starving from the drought and suffering in many other ways.

It took a chance meeting by his mother at an auto parts shop in northwest Iowa to make it possible.

Barb Anderson was conversing with a man who was involved with Light in Africa, a group that does mission work at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, when he told her his prayer has been to find a multimedia storyteller/producer type who can tell the world of the Africans’ plight.

“My mom said, ‘You need to talk to my son, Mark.’”

Mark’s response? “When you have a God incident, you say, ‘Yes, put me in, God’.”

A parishioner at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie, he said he and co-producer Nina Bouthasavanh are leaving for Africa Oct. 2.

“My values align with this mission,” Anderson said. “It’s fantastic when you can get to a point in your life when you can align doing good deeds for God with the talents you’ve been given.”

When God gives the signal, Maplewood family answers ‘yes’

Jim and Cathy Miettunen believe they get “signal graces” — signals from God that they’re being called to something and that, whatever it takes, God will provide.

For the Maplewood couple, parents of eight, those signals generally result in a “yes.”

Jim serves as the parish trustee, a lector, and organizes the annual Golf-a-thon for Presentation School each year. He served as a Scout leader.

Cathy was a Scout leader, too, and now is in charge of the church environment. She’s made this into a “family ministry” and can be found at church during evening and weekend hours with her Ben, Grace and Lily, watering, changing out the décor and liturgical colors. Cathy helps with the school auction each year; Jim is the auction’s emcee. They’ve chaired Presentation’s married couples’ evening, too.

They’ve taken to heart the role modeling of their own parents and made financial support of their parish and Catholic education a priority.

Jim said they practice stewardship primarily in gratitude for the gifts God has given them individually and collectively. It’s a way of life, he said, that resonates with the Scripture verse that to those to whom much has been given much is expected.

“God’s grace is helping us recognize the ability to be doing the things we are. We’ve been given financial gifts, so we’ve been open to sharing those,” Jim said.

Jim said he was inspired by the words a fellow parishioner spoke when he made the request for support of the Fund for Retired Religious.

“I can still remember Bernie Flicek saying, ‘I don’t want the largest bill in your wallet, but I don’t want the smallest bill, either.’

“That always gives me something to reflect on when I’m asked,” Jim said. “You don’t have to say yes to everything, but I think, ‘What can I do?’”

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