At the last parish Finance Council meeting it was decided to make use of this weekend to reflect on our parish and on stewardship. Since then I have been trying to think of a helpful image to use. Finally, after some thought and prayer, the image came to me and it is an image gained from my experience of painting icons.
In iconography you paint the darkest level of color first and then you lighten it as you go but you do not lighten all at once rather you add a little bit of warm white to the color and then you put down a very thin layer of the now lighter color, then you add a little more white and then another very thin layer and then again the same and you may do this many more times but this discipline of adding just one thin layer after another has the effect of bringing the light out gradually and this process is what makes an icon “shine” and it is what helps to make religious icons such a beautiful form of art as well as expressions of faith.
In many ways a parish can, itself, be considered a living icon to the Lord. Everything that we are and everything that we are about as St. Dominic Parish should reflect the glory of God to our world and to us (one another). How do we do this? Sometimes yes in bold strokes, when the Church needs to proclaim the dignity of the human person or the truth of our faith or when we need to be present in a moment of tragedy and loss. These are exceptional moments but they are not all the moments and often they are not the majority of moments. Most moments of a parish reflecting the glory of God are made up of one thin layer laid on top of another.
Here are just a few from our parish of St. Dominic’s:
When our parish youth attend an organized parish religious education program staffed by dedicated parish volunteers generously giving of their talent and time, that is one layer reflecting the glory of God in the icon on St. Dominic Parish.
When our parish offers our Growing in Faith Days or our small group Wild Goose series reminding us that faith formation is a life long process that is another layer added.
When our parish office staff continually aids parishioners in their needs that is a significant layer added daily.
When our Senior Ministry offers another fun and engaging event that builds support and friendship that is another layer.
When we have a parish Family Festival or Youth Ministry and Apprentice Workshop offer a Trunk or Treat and are already planning for summer retreats that is adding another layer.
When our school educates the whole child every day of the school year and affirms that child’s dignity that is another layer.
When we are able to minister to those who are most in need in our parish or our community through our St. Vincent de Paul Society or the Knights of Columbus or Martha and Mary, the Kitchen of Hope or Interfaith Hospitality that adds a beautiful shining layer.
When we are able to devote resources to prayer, worship and the life of the sacraments that adds a deep and abiding layer.
The list can go on and on…
St. Dominic parish continues to be a living icon to our Lord beautifully made up of all these different layers of faith and witness.
Can we and will we support the continuing work of this living icon of St. Dominic Parish? Within the bulletin this weekend is a graph that shows the breakdown of giving in our parish. It can be seen that the vast majority of giving is at the lowest step of the graph. Wherever we find ourselves on the chart if we could consider going up to the next step of giving that alone would have an enormous impact on the life and the ministry of our parish. (Some people might be able to go up more than one step.) All the examples shared above are made possible through the generosity of our giving in support of our parish and all of its ministries.
I like the image of the chart because it is steps. The journey is not made by jumping from the lowest to the highest step. That is not being asked. What is being asked is to consider making the next step in support of the ministry of our parish and to continue in that level of support.
I like the image of the icon because the beauty of the icon as a whole is made up of all those different layers of paint being laid down one after the other. St. Dominic Parish is a living icon of our Lord and in many ways it truly does reflect the beauty of God.
Please reflect on these words. Please reflect on the information in the flyer. Please reflect on all the good going on in our parish and what that means in our lives and the lives of many and also please reflect on what it would mean if all the good being done through our parish was absent.
Please consider taking the next step in support of our parish.
Another layer to the beauty of the icon of St. Dominic parish? It is what we are reflecting upon this Sunday – the generous and committed giving in support of our parish and its ministries.
May God continue to bless our parish and may St. Dominic’s always be a living icon reflecting the glory of God to our world.
Below is the information given in the flyer:
Renewing Our Commitment to Our Parish When you give to the parish you support our ministries and help to provide for our spiritual home. As you reflect on your commitment to our parish, keep in mind that giving to the parish should be: • Freely given in a spirit of joy • Given along with the gift of yourself • Consistent and proportionate to your resources Please consult the chart provided and prayerfully consider what you may be able to give.
The Stair Steps of Giving: can you take the next step?
776 Families $5.00 or less/week
47 Families $5.01-$10/week
47 Families $10.01-$15/week
37 Families $15.01-$20/week
59 Families $20.01-$30/week
51 Families $30.01-$40/week
30 Families $40.01-$50/week
38 Families $50.01-$75/week
19 Families $75.01-$100/week
27 Families $100.01-$200/week
8 Families $200.01 and above/week
Families donating at each level to the general oﬀertory. This does not include donations to Malawi, St. Vincent de Paul nor Interfaith. It does not include families who put loose cash in the collection basket – about $1,000 weekly. It does not include visitors who contribute a total of about $105 weekly.