Stewardship reflects our relationships

| February 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Father Daniel Mahan, who will speak at the Feb. 26 archdiocesan stewardship conference, talked with The Catholic Spirit news editor Pat Norby about his stewardship ministry. He is executive director of the Marian University Center for Cath­olic Stew­ard­ship in Indiana­polis, an author and well-known speaker who writes a stewardship blog at http://www.morethansilverorgold.com. Following is the edited version of the conversation.

You have been speaking about stewardship worldwide since 1996. Tell us how and why you got started doing this.

Father Daniel Mahan

I got started with stewardship when I became a pastor of a parish in 1992, which coincidently or providentially is the year the [U.S.] bishops wrote their pastoral on stewardship. . . . This is a message that is uni­versal and this is a message that has the power to change hearts.

How do you keep your talks and blog posts fresh and interesting?
It’s been said that every time the Gospel is preached, it’s being preached for the first time. This is why we have a cycle of readings. We don’t go looking for something else. In the same way, every time the Gospel is lived, it is lived for the first time.

Your emphasis is on stewardship as a way of life, not money. How does that evolve into physical, spiritual and financial support of our local and worldwide church?
I follow the lead of our bishops and their pastoral letter on stewardship on emphasizing stewardship as a way to holiness. When we have our relationship with the Lord in order, when our following the Lord is the most important thing in our life, that is going to have implications for us temporally.

What has been one of the most inspiring stories about stewardship that you have heard?
I had a parishioner who finally got his dream job. It meant he and his family had to move away. As soon as they got settled, his employer told him the job involved a lot of travel. He called me about six months after starting the job and said, “The one word that’s been going through my mind since I started having these difficulties with my job has been the word stewardship.” After our conversation, he asked his boss for a demotion so he could return home, where his family was, where his kids had friends and he had a parish he loved.

When I think of stewardship and that individual, I’m not thinking about how much money he’s given the parish or how much time he’s spending in work around the parish, I’m thinking of how he has ordered his life around the most important things — his relationship with God,  his relationship with his wife and kids — things that are more precious than silver or gold.

What are the key elements to molding better stewards in our faith communities?
The holy Eucharist. Parishes and individuals who center their lives around the Eucharist are going to be stewardship parishes and good and faithful stewards. It’s in the Euch­a­rist, where we receive all the Lord can give to us, his body and blood, his soul and divinity and that gift of his very self is given to us to change us, to make us holy, to make us his living presence, his living body and blood out in the world.

How can families nurture good stewardship?
Families make dozens of decisions every day about priorities. How are we  going to spend our time? How are we going to spend our money?

That’s the fertile ground for formation in stewardship.

Coming up

» What: 2011 Archdiocesan Stewardship Conference.

» When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26.

» Where: Pax Christi parish, 12100 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie.

» Registration: Cost is $15 per person and includes a light lunch. Call the Development and Stewardship Office at (651) 290-1610 for a registration form or visit TheCatholicSpirit.com and type “stewardship conference” in the search box to download a pdf of the brochure.

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