Welcome to Guardian Angels
Dear Friends and Families of Guardian Angels Parish,
Next weekend we will have a guest from Bethlehem, George Banouras. His family are among the leading Catholic community of Bethlehem, Israel. In the face of a fragile peace, his family works to support and assist other Catholic families living in Bethlehem. They hand carve beautiful local olive wood into religious articles, from wall plaques, statues, to wonderful Christmas manger scenes. He will be here offering these hand crafted artistic pieces to you for sale. If you’re wondering about the wood and the loss of olive trees, fear not. The articles are all made from lovingly pruned olive branches; this pruning helps the olive trees bear more fruit
Wrapping our minds around somewhere so far away as Bethlehem, this is also World Mission Sunday. We have another opportunity for you to shine with your reputation of charity toward the poor. Fr. Alan Weinert was very grateful with the amount you contributed to the missions of his community.
Since the gospel is about money, at least on the surface of things, the Parish Finance Council produces the Annual Stewardship Report of the parish for fiscal 2013-2014. Please remember that these first months of the new 2014-2015 fiscal year are not in this booklet. Please read it carefully, because it is a rich and complex document. We have tried to make it easier by pie charts and graphs, for those of us who look at things at-a-glance. We have added to the report this year by capturing other statistical data which reflects the enormous amount of activity happening at the parish. You should be proud of all you are accomplishing; it is not only finances that are the bottom line. More importantly it is the wonderful treasure of people in our parish, from our smallest infants to our most senior and wise elders. God is blessing us in such abundance.
More than that, this report hopes to demonstrate the need for a larger facility so that we can accommodate new members in a growing parish, and so that we can do all the things that we want to do, including educating our children and youth and a gathering space for all our internal and outreach activities.
For the Pharisees, it is all about the money. It’s not. For some Catholics, it is all about canon law. Pope Francis at the Synod on the Family in Rome happening right now is challenging us to restore a proper and organic balance to how we understand Church. The problem with our thinking smacked me in the face last Sunday night with our youth!
When asked who was the Church, every teen answered that it was the hierarchy, the pope and bishops! This has never been the case. When did we become so lost in our own discipleship and membership, that we don’t know the answer to this question: who is the Church? This is not hard.
The answer: all the followers of Christ! We, the communion of the faithful, are the Church! When we think and act like as if it is the hierarchy, there’s a little quirky thing happening in our thinking. We free ourselves from any responsibility for being Church, and place the whole burden on a few men.
We’re recovering from this attitude at Guardian Angels as we engage and enroll many people in the work of the Church, which is always a pastoral care for the world.
Notice in the gospel how the Pharisees hand the money to Jesus, yet the gospel is very careful to tell us that Jesus never actually took the coin. The point here is just this: whatever wealth we have, we only have ultimately in the eyes of God “for some benefit of the common good.” This is not something made up, but rather goes all the way back to the biblical book of Deuteronomy, all the prophets, and Jesus himself. I support and encourage those here who are growing into this attitude of discipleship. This is why we’re here on earth and this will be the final question God asks us when we stand before His throne. Whom did you love while on earth and how much? Give to god what belongs to God. Not just our Sunday allegiances, but our whole selves.
Finally I thank the Finance Council and the fine work of Karen Surbrugg who edited and produced this Annual Stewardship Report 2013-2014. This document is also the result of our audit this reported fiscal year. God is already blessing us with heart on fire for the gospel in apostolic work and generous giving.
Fr Alan Hartway, CPPS