Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought a time of uncertainty, discomfort, and illness. We could never imagine empty pews at the Cathedral for Sunday Mass or asking priests to celebrate Mass alone and share it online with their parishioners. Many of us are unsure of the year ahead and the changes still to come which may cause disruption in our lives. However, during challenging times we are called to respond as disciples.
We have witnessed an abundance of generosity over the past few months. Thanks to the frontline workers bravely protecting and caring for the vulnerable among us and to the healthcare workers providing end of life care to our loved ones, we are reminded, “there are many parts, yet one body” (1 Cor 12:20). Throughout history, during times of great famine and need, Catholics responded with ingenuity and generosity. Now, we are called to do the same.
To this end, I invite you to join me in activating your parish for missionary discipleship through a process of stewardship discernment this fall. You may recall that the synod invited us into deeper relationship with Christ and his church through stewardship as a way of life. The synod reminds us that each parish is a member of the diocese and of the universal Catholic Church. To this end, we are replacing the Annual Catholic Services Appeal (ACSA) with the Parish Tithe. The Parish Tithe reduces the previous ACSA calculation and provides greater transparency and equity among parishes in the diocese. It also invites us to consider how we can act sacrificially, proportionately, and generously contribute to the mission of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
During the next few weeks, many parishes will have the opportunity to enter a stewardship discernment process for your parish. How will you respond as a steward of your parish and the larger Catholic Church? Consider these questions:
Am I prioritizing my time with God in prayer and attending the Holy Mass, in-person or online?
Am I using the talents God has given to me to advance the Gospel message in my community?
How can I prioritize my spending habits to be more generous and offer all that I have to the mission of my parish and the larger diocesan mission?
As you explore your participation in stewardship, I ask you to join me in making a commitment toward the ministry and mission of the diocesan offices. Your gift will be attributed toward your Parish Tithe Goal. We greatly appreciate your support!
We are all in this together. I hope you will be the beacon of light amid the darkness and turn to our Lord for strength and hope.
May God give us this grace,
Answers to questions about parish tithing
Every household in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois will receive a mailing from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki the week of Oct. 18. If you are able, please consider making a gift toward the diocesan ministries and mission, which will also be attributed toward your Parish Tithing Goal. You will find a response card and reply envelope for your contribution in this mailing. We appreciate your support!
How will this gift help my parish
All gifts graciously and sacrificially given are an act of active and intentional discipleship and stewardship. You are a witness to the good work being done in your parish and the larger diocesan mission and ministries when you make a gift. Your gift will also be attributed to your parish tithing goal, which replaces the Annual Catholic Services Appeal goal, with a parish tithing goal of 10 percent. This will help support your parish in meeting the tithing goal, which is collected from every parish in a transparent and fair manner. All of us are in this journey of discipleship together and your stewardship witness is a testament to the good news happening all around your parish and the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
Why is stewardship important
Stewardship is founded on Christ’s teaching that everything is a gift from God. As stewards, we prayerfully make an intentional commitment to prayer, service, and giving generously, proportionately, and sacrificially to the ministry of your parish, the diocesan ministries, and other charities. Stewardship presents each of us, no matter our age, with an opportunity to draw closer in our relationship with Jesus. Stewardship is the toolkit for discipleship!
Why is tithing important and how will it shape my faith life?
Tithing can become a great spiritual and charitable practice for you. Tithing requires us to detach from the materialism of the world and make intentional gifts toward the good work being done within the Catholic Church and beyond. The practice calls us to discard the meaningless purchases, waste, bad habits, or luxuries which don’t give us happiness and serve as a distraction to our faith life. A joyful giver is free from the unnecessary clutter that often distracts us from our relationship with God.
Why should I make a gift to the diocesan ministries and mission?
The diocesan curia offices exist and operate according to the ministry of the bishop, and in direct service to diocesan parishes. The curia offices are ministerial in that the curia approaches the pastors and parishes with a servant mentality. As an example, just recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, the curia offices assisted in helping parishes navigate financial support that was available for parishes through the Payment Protection Program. The diocesan curia also works to implement the 2017 Diocesan Synod and move us all toward greater missionary discipleship and stewardship.