It has been a busy summer. Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home celebrated its second anniversary this past June. To reiterate our Holy Father’s call to action, the Social Justice Office has been promoting the Laudato Si’ Pledge. The pledge asks that we do three things: Pray for and with creation; Live more simply; Advocate to protect our common home.
We were at One Rock this year promoting the campaign. Archbishop Pettipas stopped by and made the pledge. Bishop McGrattan, after his Mass on Saturday, not only endorsed the pledge, but encouraged everyone to do the same. After taking the pledge, many had their photos taken with Pope Francis in the selfie booth. It was tons of fun but more importantly, the signed pledges were added with others from around the world. It was a great act of solidarity!
The Laudato Si’ Pledge campaign continues throughout the upcoming Season of Creation which begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1. This special prayer day was instituted by Pope Francis for our Church back in 2015 because he shares the concern of Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, who initiated a similar day of prayer back in 1989. Pope Francis has called this day to be a time for individuals and communities to “reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live” [Letter, August 2015]. Pope Francis wished this day of prayer to be celebrated “with the participation of the entire People of God: priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful and should become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles.”
But we don’t have just this day to celebrate and pray for Creation. In the Pope’s 2016 letter, he endorsed celebrating the Time for Creation. During these five weeks, we can join Christians from every continent who are leading prayer services and symbolic actions to protect creation. There will be a Blessing of the Animals at St. Joseph’s Parish on September 23, at 10:30 a.m. Bring the whole family, along with your beloved pets and animals for a special blessing. St. Patrick’s Parish will have a Live Laudato Si’ workshop on September 25 and 29. There are many prayer service resources available. Please contact the Social Justice Office for more details. By participating in events or symbolic actions, big or small, we can all make a difference.
Spirituality of Stewardship: Lenten Mission
During Lent of 2017, the Office of Stewardship presented Spirituality of Stewardship, a three-day Lenten Mission in the Diocese with Fr. Daryl Befort from Wichita, Kansas. The Lenten Mission focused on a threefold Call of Discipleship: Deny Youreslf, Take up Your Cross, and Follow Christ.
The True Meaning of Being a Steward of Christ
Catholic speaker, author, and stewardship coach Tracy Earl Welliver explains how we do not merely volunteer for Christ when we serve Him in different parish ministries, but that we give our lives to Christ by serving in the Church because we truly love Him. This talk series is entitled "The True Meaning of Being a Steward of Christ", conducted in the Diocese of Calgary on September 2016.
This resource contains discussion questions that can be used in small group study. The document helps individuals grasp with the heart the meaning of stewardship. I recommend that parish councils and stewardship committees (also prayer groups in the parish) work through the text once a week for 5 weeks with a 6th week for making an action plan. The stewardship office has hard copies available for $10.
Deus caritas est (God is Love). Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical.
The theology and principles in this resource are a wonderful formation tool for stewardship spirituality. Part one offers a speculative reflection on love. Part two is a reflection on the meaning of charitable giving. The Stewardship Office has hard copies available for $5.
Exploring Deus Caritas Est
Exploring Deus Caritas Est is a 4-part process for small groups. Written by Anthony Garascia and published by Ave Maria Press, the study guides are available as free downloads. They are also included here for easy access by your parish groups:
- Deus Caritas Session One
- Deus Caritas Session Two
- Deus Caritas Session Three
- Deus Caritas Session Four
Stewardship: 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'
A Pastoral Letter by Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Edmonton
This document is shorter than Disciple's Response but still offers some discussion questions at the end. It is a very good resource and introduction to stewardship. The stewardship office has hard copies available for $0.50 a piece.
- Pastoral Letter: "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Stewardship and Teens
Cardinal Mahoney, Archbishop of Los Angeles
The Little Burgundy Book: Six Minute Reflections.
The diocese of Saginaw, Michigan has published three out of four of these books, one for each Gospel, based upon the writings of the late bishop, Ken Untener. So far, they have Mark, Luke, and John available. Those who have used these books find them invaluable and an easy but significant way of bringing stewardship into the prayer-life of busy people.
There are a few copies available in the diocesan stewardship office.
Pray Always and Never Lose Heart: A Treasury of Private Prayers for the Christian Steward
National Catholic Stewardship Council, Inc. 1998.
This collection of private prayers is available at the Resource Centre library.
Copies are available for purchase at the stewardship office ($15).
Stewardship: Disciples Respond. A Practical Guide for Pastoral Leaders.
Catholic Stewardship Council, Inc. 1997, 2004.
This book is filled with ideas for implementing stewardship practices in your parish.
It is available at the Resource Centre library. Copies for purchase are available at the stewardship office ($10).
It was a joyful task to ask Bishop Fred Henry for his support of the 20th annual God Squad Men’s Conference. To hear of his retirement left me with a sense of loss. However, it was with a truly heavy heart that I observed the media’s field day describing him and his actions over the years with words that did not fit who we know he is and what he has done for the Calgary Diocese.
I reflected on what a great leader Bishop Henry has been for Calgarians and the whole Catholic community. He truly was a shepherd and a father to us. What the media had maligned him for was what I loved him for. They just didn’t understand that he was protecting us with warnings that if we take a certain path, we are putting ourselves at risk. He was a warning sign to our society of hazards ahead, like a police officer giving out tickets for speeding to reduce traffic accidents and deaths. Even if you are upset with the officer, he may have just prevented an accident, and the other cars driving by also get the message to slow down.
Bishop Henry was a friend to the God Squad right from the beginning. Installed on March 19, 1998 (the feast of St. Joseph), he opened our first conference with a blessing on the following day, even though he had family in the car waiting for him to go out for dinner. Over the years, he celebrated masses and given talks and wrote letters of support for our conferences.
I remember after one conference our keynote speakers were amazed at how Bishop Henry had this large group of men enthralled with a story about a toad! He truly is a gifted communicator. I cannot help but think of the correlation between he and St. Joseph, who also protected his family, day in and day out, without thought for himself. I believe that, like St. Joseph, he did the will of the Lord with humility and grace.
This year’s conference theme is a simple celebration of our 20th Annual Men’s Conference under the patronage of St. Joseph. Please help us celebrate this milestone by sharing your past stories of how the conference has made a difference in your life and by bringing someone new with you. Email stories or pictures to email@example.com. Go to godsquad.ca to register, see ad on page 19 or come to the door on March 17/18. All men ages 14 years and up are invited.
Pope Francis did not likely imagine big noisy motorcycles getting into the act when he called for a Jubilee Year of Mercy, but he did declare his hope that people would go out into the community and evangelize.
During a tour of Israel with international author and speaker, Jeff Cavins (from Minneapolis, MN) the idea of a Men’s Ride For Mercy started to form. It turns out that Jeff and I like motorcycles and we certainly love the Lord. One thing led to another when we decided to see if we could get a group of men to travel by motorcycle to fellowship with Catholics in other communities, and to spread the Good News.
The ride took place August 7 to 15 and covered about 5,000 kilometres, with stops in about eight locations throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta, Montana and South Dakota. Along with our bikes, we brought our God Squad branded barbecue trailer. We spoke at churches along the journey and were joined by several men for different legs of the journey, with 10 or more riding on some days.
I prayed a novena in honour of St. Joseph at all the stops; and Jeff Cavins gave talks. The main theme of Jeff’s talks was to call men to a true discipleship, to what it means to be a follower of Christ. Jeff said, “I think a lot of men, when [thinking] about their faith… say they believe that stuff, but it doesn’t get translated into how they live their life, or the development of their relationship with Christ in the daily activity.” Jeff said that this attitude of many Catholics is what St. Pope John Paul II called “practical atheism.”
The first Men’s Ride of Mercy was so successful that organizers are already planning a bigger event for 2017. They are hoping that this unique idea will attract 30 to 40 men. Combining barbecues and motorcycles, after all, is a natural way to get men’s attention for Christ!
The Office of Stewardship is pleased to present Catholic speaker, author, and stewardship coach Tracy Earl Welliver focuses on “The True Meaning of Being a Steward of Christ.” In this talk series, Mr. Welliver explains how we do not merely volunteer for Christ when we serve Him in different parish ministries, but that we give our lives to Christ by serving in the Church because we truly love Him.