In 2011 Cardinal John Dew introduced “intentional stewardship” to the Archdiocese, a movement which has involved the people of the Archdiocese in many types of formation.
At its heart, stewardship is a recognition that all we have and all we are is a gift from God. It is a way of looking at the world through the eyes of a disciple of Christ, recognizing that ‘I am a gift from God’ and being generous with all God has given me – abilities, experiences, possessions, knowledge. Stewardship challenges us to use our gifts for God and for others.
The Stewardship journey
The Stewardship journey began in August 2011 with a Stewardship conference for people from all the parishes, which introduced the concept.
Stewardship Days have been held (and continue to be held) in all the parishes. A Stewardship Day involves a presentation – “A Disciple’s Response” – by Cardinal John Dew, after which parishioners take part in three conversations in different groups in which they explore what it means to be an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ on a daily basis, in the home, in the neighbourhood, in their faith communities, workplaces, in every aspect of their lives. An evening session follows in which the leaders from the parishes and schools work with the material gathered from the parishioners’ conversations to create pastoral goals for the parish and its schools.
A Stewardship Network has been established for the Archdiocese which meets for further formation and to share ideas. Stewardship Days have been held for particular groups, such as young adults, clergy new to ministry in the Archdiocese, and teachers. There is an annual Stewardship retreat, and October is designated as Stewardship Month with resources provided for parishes.
In the last year Stewardship Breakfasts have been introduced. People gather at 7.30am for breakfast, to hear a talk by Cardinal John Dew and three testimonies from people in the parish about how intentionally being a ‘missionary disciple’ has affected their lives. These events have been very popular in terms of numbers attending and for the community building and formation which takes place. Four of these are planned annually.