Welcome Deacon Steve Mitchell! Deacon Steve is the National Director of Alpha in a Catholic Context. He is with us this weekend as part of a day of diocesan-wide training for Alpha. What began with our two parishes is now taking the diocese by storm as a growing number of parishes are seeking to implement the Alpha Course. On our recent weekend retreat we had guests from La Crosse, Marshfield, Bloomer and Prescott. It is truly exciting to see what the Holy Spirit is able to bring about once we begin to open ourselves up to his presence and power!
I’m grateful to Deacon Steve for preaching this weekend about the Alpha experience. Our third run of the Alpha Course concludes in a couple weeks. A new course will begin late January, coinciding with the season of Lent which begins February 10, 2016. It’s not too early to prayerfully consider joining us for the next Alpha Course. We will be offering two sessions on Monday evenings at St. Charles and Tuesday evenings at St. Peter’s beginning January 25 and 26. The weekend retreat, a key component of the Alpha experience, is scheduled for March 12-13. If you’ve been thinking about Alpha I’d really encourage you to plan now to join us this coming Lent!
This weekend’s Scriptures present us with two very generous widows. Neither are named, but both give out of their substance. The widow of Zarephath shares her remaining food with the prophet Elijah, and in the gospel a nameless widow is praised by Jesus for contributing “all she had, her whole livelihood” to the temple treasury. Their examples give us an opportunity to reflect upon our stewardship of our gifts – particularly our treasure.
According to the Bible, we are to give God a percentage of our income. This is called a “tithe”. Biblically, the first ten percent of a person’s wealth was to be given to God. Today, Christians might give 5% to the Church and the remaining 5% to worthy charities. God’s Word promises that if we give for the sake of the kingdom, we will be richly provided for. (Cf. Luke 18:29, Matthew 6:33, Mark 10:29.) God is never out done in generosity!
In the coming days you’ll be receiving a Stewardship Renewal mailing that details the biblical understanding of tithing. Each of us will be asked to “Take A Step” towards that biblical goal of 5% in terms of our parish support. It is a small step, but if we all take a step together our parishes can continue to move forward on more solid financial footing. Please watch for this mailing and take time to review the enclosed materials – Thanks!
PS. This past week electronic door openers were installed at St. Charles on the back ramp entrance. This should make opening the two doors much easier for our parishioners with disabilities. This improvement to our church was made possible through the Future Fund Trust. Thanks to all our Future Fund donors!