Stewardship never goes out of season

Stewardship never goes out of season
Msgr. Peter Joyce, pastor of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Marmora, stands with Tim and Nancy Williams and their three children, Jacob (in back), Leah and Tyler.

Msgr. Peter Joyce, pastor of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Marmora, stands with Tim and Nancy Williams and their three children, Jacob (in back), Leah and Tyler.

Summer is long gone, and along with it, the majority of vacation goers from New Jersey’s shore points. “Shoulder Season” aside, communities around local beaches pray for a prosperous summer to make it through the leaner months. Extreme hurricanes like Sandy greatly impact the shore, but life in general — from sudden illness to the loss of a job — can deal harsher blows than any wave.

That’s where a faith community like Saint Maximilian Kolbe in Marmora comes in. The parish has a wide variety of ministries in place — from Bible study and a bereavement group to their food pantry and thrift shop — that enables them to be true stewards for those who live and pray by the beach or the mainland.

“The parish ministries as a whole are on an upswing,” explains Msgr. Peter Joyce, who has served as pastor of Saint Maximilian Kolbe for a little over four years. “We’ve tapped into some amazing resources: the wonderful people of our parish.”

Some of those people include the Williams family, who have been members of the parish for over two decades. Nancy, a lifelong Catholic, was a transplant from Burlington County; Tim, a self-proclaimed “cafeteria Protestant,” whose journey to God had him experience a variety of Christian denominations, grew up a seashell toss away in Ocean City. They met in 1990, fell in love, and grew their family of faith at Saint Maximilian Kolbe.

“Growing up, my family was always been involved in church, wherever we were going,” explains Tim. “It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s all Nancy’s ever known. And for our kids, it’s all they’ve ever known from the start.”

“Families like the Williams’ are the ones you can always call upon. They’re steady, constant,” adds Msgr. Joyce. “With them, there’s always an open, enthusiastic and generous response.”

That generous, giving response from the Williams’ comes in a variety of ways. Most notably, the entire family takes on Vacation Bible School every summer.

“When the kids were little, the director of religious education at the time wanted to start a Vacation Bible School at our church,” says Nancy. “So when I started, my daughter, Leah, was about 2. I wanted to help get it started and ended up not ever leaving. We’ve been doing it ever since.”

This year’s theme for the parish’s well-attended Vacation Bible School was “Everest,” a “cool” summer adventure that helps children discover how to see God in everyday life.

“It’s always such a great time,” adds Nancy. “I love watching the middle schoolers. They always come every day. These are the kids that really don’t have to come but they want to be there. They’re really participating with the younger kids. It’s an amazing time.”

Both of Tim and Nancy’s sons, Tyler, age 16 and Jacob, age 18, were altar servers before becoming lectors at Mass. Tyler enjoys speaking in public, while Jacob lectors as a way to improve in that area. However, one thing these young stewards share in common is a love for the Mass and a desire to grow in their faith.

“Church is a big part of my life,” explains Jacob. “Being a lector and being part of the Mass helps me understand Scripture more.”

“Lectoring makes Mass more interesting,” adds Tyler. “It’s not just you go in, you sing, you pray and you walk out. You get a little extra out of going.”

Leah, age 13, followed in the footsteps of her older siblings and became an altar server. She also enjoys being more engaged at Mass.

“My brothers both were altar servers,” says Leah. “I enjoy helping the priest and being involved.”

And it’s not just the Williams’. Overall, involvement in parish ministries has been on the rise. Many parishioners attribute the positive growth in stewardship to Msgr. Joyce and his energetic approach to his pastoral responsibilities. While he’s flattered, he sees things a little differently.

“The pieces were already in place. Saint Maximilian Kolbe has so many wonderful service groups,” explains Msgr. Joyce. “There’s been a sort of coordination of resources where there’s a better collaboration among the diverse ministries in the parish. Before, they were all quietly going about their work. Now, there’s a greater awareness of who’s doing what and how we might better work together to assist in those efforts.

“We’ve also expanded our support of these ministries, providing greater resources to these groups that care for those less fortunate.”

Every year, in addition to highlighting the parish’s financial numbers, Msgr. Joyce also includes a stewardship accounting as well. And in 2014, Saint Maximilian Kolbe worked to be “other Christs” in their community:

— Their food pantry distributed 5,790 full bags of groceries to over 1,285 households;

— The Knights of Columbus Resurrection and Saint Casimir Councils donated over $16,000 to worthwhile causes, while providing over 5,000 volunteer hours to church and community;

— Thrift shop proceeds went to help over 1,500 families in need;

— The parish nurse ministry conducted over 400 blood pressure screenings and held the parish’s first annual health fair; and

— The Saint Vincent de Paul Society assisted over 480 individuals in the community and disbursed over $50,000 to clients.

“The work that we do for others in the name of God, that is our pulpit,” explains Msgr. Joyce. “Stewardship is what flows out of a community of faith.”

Moving forward, the parish of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and its many stewards will sustain the work they have enthusiastically undertaken, while focusing on the spirituality the truly fuels their mission. And the Williams’ will continue to say “yes” to Christ’s call, and hope that others do as well.

“In talking to people, they really want to be involved in their church. Sometimes they don’t get asked,” explains Nancy. “You just have to ask someone to help out.

“You hope that other people see what you do and get more involved for the strength of their families and the parish.

“If people see those activities, they’ll want to become involved,” adds Tim. “It becomes infectious. Word spreads.”

 

For more information on stewardship contact Deacon Russell Davis, Office of Stewardship, at 856-583-6102.

Summer is long gone, and along with it, the majority of vacation goers from New Jersey’s shore points. “Shoulder Season” aside, communities around local beaches pray for a prosperous summer to make it through the leaner months. Extreme hurricanes like Sandy greatly impact the shore, but life in general — from sudden illness to the loss of a job — can deal harsher blows than any wave.

That’s where a faith community like Saint Maximilian Kolbe in Marmora comes in. The parish has a wide variety of ministries in place — from Bible study and a bereavement group to their food pantry and thrift shop — that enables them to be true stewards for those who live and pray by the beach or the mainland.

“The parish ministries as a whole are on an upswing,” explains Msgr. Peter Joyce, who has served as pastor of Saint Maximilian Kolbe for a little over four years. “We’ve tapped into some amazing resources: the wonderful people of our parish.”

Some of those people include the Williams family, who have been members of the parish for over two decades. Nancy, a lifelong Catholic, was a transplant from Burlington County; Tim, a self-proclaimed “cafeteria Protestant,” whose journey to God had him experience a variety of Christian denominations, grew up a seashell toss away in Ocean City. They met in 1990, fell in love, and grew their family of faith at Saint Maximilian Kolbe.

“Growing up, my family was always been involved in church, wherever we were going,” explains Tim. “It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s all Nancy’s ever known. And for our kids, it’s all they’ve ever known from the start.”

“Families like the Williams’ are the ones you can always call upon. They’re steady, constant,” adds Msgr. Joyce. “With them, there’s always an open, enthusiastic and generous response.”

That generous, giving response from the Williams’ comes in a variety of ways. Most notably, the entire family takes on Vacation Bible School every summer.

“When the kids were little, the director of religious education at the time wanted to start a Vacation Bible School at our church,” says Nancy. “So when I started, my daughter, Leah, was about 2. I wanted to help get it started and ended up not ever leaving. We’ve been doing it ever since.”

This year’s theme for the parish’s well-attended Vacation Bible School was “Everest,” a “cool” summer adventure that helps children discover how to see God in everyday life.

“It’s always such a great time,” adds Nancy. “I love watching the middle schoolers. They always come every day. These are the kids that really don’t have to come but they want to be there. They’re really participating with the younger kids. It’s an amazing time.”

Both of Tim and Nancy’s sons, Tyler, age 16 and Jacob, age 18, were altar servers before becoming lectors at Mass. Tyler enjoys speaking in public, while Jacob lectors as a way to improve in that area. However, one thing these young stewards share in common is a love for the Mass and a desire to grow in their faith.

“Church is a big part of my life,” explains Jacob. “Being a lector and being part of the Mass helps me understand Scripture more.”

“Lectoring makes Mass more interesting,” adds Tyler. “It’s not just you go in, you sing, you pray and you walk out. You get a little extra out of going.”

Leah, age 13, followed in the footsteps of her older siblings and became an altar server. She also enjoys being more engaged at Mass.

“My brothers both were altar servers,” says Leah. “I enjoy helping the priest and being involved.”

And it’s not just the Williams’. Overall, involvement in parish ministries has been on the rise. Many parishioners attribute the positive growth in stewardship to Msgr. Joyce and his energetic approach to his pastoral responsibilities. While he’s flattered, he sees things a little differently.

“The pieces were already in place. Saint Maximilian Kolbe has so many wonderful service groups,” explains Msgr. Joyce. “There’s been a sort of coordination of resources where there’s a better collaboration among the diverse ministries in the parish. Before, they were all quietly going about their work. Now, there’s a greater awareness of who’s doing what and how we might better work together to assist in those efforts.

“We’ve also expanded our support of these ministries, providing greater resources to these groups that care for those less fortunate.”

Every year, in addition to highlighting the parish’s financial numbers, Msgr. Joyce also includes a stewardship accounting as well. And in 2014, Saint Maximilian Kolbe worked to be “other Christs” in their community:

— Their food pantry distributed 5,790 full bags of groceries to over 1,285 households;

— The Knights of Columbus Resurrection and Saint Casimir Councils donated over $16,000 to worthwhile causes, while providing over 5,000 volunteer hours to church and community;

— Thrift shop proceeds went to help over 1,500 families in need;

— The parish nurse ministry conducted over 400 blood pressure screenings and held the parish’s first annual health fair; and

— The Saint Vincent de Paul Society assisted over 480 individuals in the community and disbursed over $50,000 to clients.

“The work that we do for others in the name of God, that is our pulpit,” explains Msgr. Joyce. “Stewardship is what flows out of a community of faith.”

Moving forward, the parish of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and its many stewards will sustain the work they have enthusiastically undertaken, while focusing on the spirituality the truly fuels their mission. And the Williams’ will continue to say “yes” to Christ’s call, and hope that others do as well.

“In talking to people, they really want to be involved in their church. Sometimes they don’t get asked,” explains Nancy. “You just have to ask someone to help out.

“You hope that other people see what you do and get more involved for the strength of their families and the parish.

“If people see those activities, they’ll want to become involved,” adds Tim. “It becomes infectious. Word spreads.”

For more information on stewardship contact Deacon Russell Davis, Office of Stewardship, at 856-583-6102.

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