Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a tithing parish. The people of Israel were expected to tithe thier resources to the Lord. The word tithe means a tenth, the first tenth is given by God's people for the support of the work of the Lord.
Ideally a tithe would consist of giving a fifth of ones' income (before taxes) to the support of the local parish and the other fifth to other charities, including the support of other family members, contributions to charites and good-will organizations.
Homily on the occasion of the increased giving campaign on the Weekend of October 16th, the scripture passages were Isaiah 45: 1,4-6, I Thessalonians 1: 1-5, Matthew 22: 15-21.
Giving to God what belongs to God, Jesus is speaking about the present and the future, how we give to God here and now and how we live our lives dedicated to doing God’s will and participating in the mission of the church. We belong to God, if there is any doubt remember that the image of God has been etched into our very being by the act of creation
I know that you already belong to the church, to this local parish and I am suggesting that we take this opportunity to consider what is means to give to God.
Those of you who are registered parishioner were invited to hear me speak about the state of the parish. Today I want to talk to you about the present and future well being of our parish. Our Parish of OLMC is not just some vague idea, it is this gathering of God’s people and this place of worship where we come to adore the living God and render back to God what really belongs to God.
With ordination comes the responsibility for spiritual development and when I became your pastor, I also assumed the responsibility for the administrative welfare of the parish. I would like to offer you today a way of participating in the fiscal well-being of the parish, it is based in bible and it is called tithing. Tithing means sharing our time, talent and treasure. It is not one or the other but all three. While today I will focus on sharing our treasure, I will address the areas of time and talent at another time. Tithing means giving 10% of what I have back to God, usually it means a family giving 5% of their income to the parish and 5% to other charities. It is the model that I have accepted for myself, I have been tithing to my parish for nearly 10 years. Actually, I try to give 10% to the parish and another 5-10% to other charities like the parish school, or the Diocesan Appeal and the seminary in Rome where I studied.
It is a large commitment but I do it because I feel that I’m giving a small portion to God for all that God has given me. As a pastor it also makes me more conscientious about how the parish uses its resources. This past year the parish used most of the funds that you raised in its Bicentennial campaign for needed repairs and additions: Pointing of the church; creating the food pantry for the needy; adding heat and cooling for the top floor of the school and renovating the bathrooms on the second floor. Today you will have the opportunity to look at the fiscal report from the pastoral years Sep. 2010 to August 2011. When you see the report you will see that the church was in debt of 28,000. The parish supported some of the work of the building that we share with the school.
I work closely with members of the finance council and I rely on their expertise as well when trying to best allocate parish funds. You will see, for example, the cost of the Utilities, between the school and church we paid nearly 86,000 for gas, electricity and heating fuel that will continue to rise this year.
We are a parish of social justice. We have people in our parish who are underpaid. For us to maintain this level of service that all parishioners have become accustomed, we must pay them a just wage and provide for their needs.
What you may ask does this have to do with the gospel. I will never preach out money, but I do proclaim the word of God and Jesus clearly invites us to prioritize our treasure, to give to Caesar but more importantly to give to God. I come today to ask for your support. I am asking each family to prayerfully consider increasing their weekly gift at the time of the offertory and to maintain that gift over the course of the year. Because I can not visit each family directly, I will be making a personal appeal by mail. As we begin this important appeal, I ask God to bless each of you and ask you to pray for our success. I do not ask you to pray for money but to pray for a spirit of generosity and sacrifice.
I am humbled by the generosity of some who do tithe. There are those families who have been blessed and I am asking you to share your blessing. In anticipation of this drive I have increased my tithe this September from $50 to $60 a week and I think of the impact a slight increase from each family would make on our total parish income. There are some wonderful things that we are doing and more that we can do together and it depends on your support and sacrifice.
We are also offering electronic giving – It means that now the parish will be able to accept credit cars, debit or savings accounts as another way of giving. ParishPay allows us to offer this service, it is secure, everyone who sign ups will have their own account you can use by phone or online. It just allows us to have a more accurate budget especially during the months of bad weather and summer months. Your parish council and finance council supports this endeavor. I am asking you as parishioners to support it too. By supporting it you are investing in the future of OLMC. Giving to God what belongs to God. Fr. Bob
For the Link to Parish Pay and electronic givng click here
You may also consider giving a portion of your tithe to the Archdiocese Stwardship Appeal in the name of OLMC (Click Here) Remember that OLMC will be credited if you use the Parish Numer 427