The Stewardship Officer of St Mary's Shrine, Chris Gehrke, has sent out a letter to local faithful to stimulate 'planned giving'. The core of his letter appears below. For background to the appeal, please see the report of Fr Goddard, FSSP on 'Matters Financial' (Dowry #29, pp.10-11).
Excerpts from Stewardship Letter
...Thank-you so much for the financial support that you have provided to St. Mary’s Shrine during its first six months under the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. The clergy are much encouraged by your generosity and positive response to their mission, with a feeling of great hope evident among the faithful. Due to generous giving we have already been able to:
Restore the use of the High Altar, just as Edward Pugin and his brother Peter Paul Pugin had intended.
Remove the temporary sanctuary to enable us to celebrate Mass in manner better suited to the Extraordinary Form.
Heat the church through the winter.
Maintain our very special and beautiful musical tradition through a period of transition.
There is of course much more to be done, but ensuring our day-to-day finances are healthy is a primary concern. My voluntary role of Financial Stewardship Coordinator has been conceived in response to grave financial challenges that are ahead of us and to try to help communicate this to the people of St. Mary’s Shrine and also help to try to address this.
It is a stark fact, but in order to pay for the expected running costs of the shrine we need to try to increase the offertory income by approx. £700 per week (based on average collections during March). We need to receive £1,450 per week; this is not to pay for fripperies, but only core expenditure and does not cover internal decorative repairs etc
Please consider reviewing how much you give to support your church? In the Old Testament it is stated that one should give a tenth of one’s income to God. In the New Testament even greater, freely offered generosity was expected, as we can see in the Book of Acts with Barnabas selling his field (4:32) and the arresting tale of Ananias and Sapphira (Ch.5).
…Whatever your situation, generous giving should be:
A priority – assessed generously in relation to all of our income, and not simply the spare change after all other needs have been satisfied (e.g. Deut 26.2–3, 1 Cor 16.2, 2 Cor 8.5).
Prayerful – an act of worship and thanksgiving (e.g. 1 Chron 29.10–14).
Planned – but allowing spontaneous generosity (e.g. 2 Cor 9.7).
Proportionate – a realistic proportion of our income (e.g. 1 Cor 16.2, 2 Cor 8.11–13).
Given in community – both for the needs of others, and given with others for a common purpose (e.g. Acts 2.42–47, 2 Cor 8.13,14). The act of giving shifts our focus from individual wants to a communal need and a commitment to working together in mission.
Sacrificial – in that there is a cost to our giving. As a result, we will have less to spend on ourselves, and our lifestyles will reflect this. Those who have more to give will give more (e.g. Luke 21.1–4, 2 Cor 8.2–4).
Cheerfully and joyfully given – whether giving of money, time, talent or hospitality, we give with grace from the heart, as an offering to God (e.g. 2 Cor 9.7,8).
For further information, including for bank details in order to make regular donations, please contact Chris Gehrke or the Shrine.