How lay people can strengthen their local Church

The archbishop of San Francisco discusses the centrality of stewardship in education, vocations, and the Church’s charitable endeavors
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone addresses the crowd during the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco Jan. 23. (CNS photo/Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco)

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone addresses the crowd during the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco January 23. (CNS photo/Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco)

The following comes from a March 17 Catholic World Report article by Jim Graves:

Archbishop Cordileone, an unapologetic defender of Church teaching, he has drawn the ire of the Left, particularly for his advocacy of the traditional definition of marriage. In 2015, he was the target of an intense media campaign seeking his removal from his post, including a full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle placed by self-described “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II” calling on the Holy Father to remove him. The effort to oust him was countered by a campaign of support by many Catholics, and included a public rally and picnic in a San Francisco park last May.

Archbishop Cordileone recently spoke with CWR.

CWR: What have been some of your priorities since coming to the archdiocese?

Archbishop Cordileone: When I arrived, I tried not to bring too many well-defined, set priorities, other than the timeless Church priorities such as catechesis, liturgy, and evangelization. That said, three things come to mind, two of which were decided upon before I arrived.
The first was to develop a ministry to young adults, of which there are many in the archdiocese. We created an office of young adult ministry which is separate from youth ministry.

The second area of concern was marriage, as we’d seen a steep decline in couples marrying within the Church. We wanted to find ways of being more encouraging, welcoming, and accessible to couples, so we established a separate office of marriage and family life under a single director.

And a third priority I’ve been promoting since I came is developing a spirituality of stewardship. When people hear the word stewardship, they think of fundraising or responsible administration of resources. But it’s much more than this; I preach on it when I do parish visits.

A steward is the servant to whom the Master entrusts His goods. He expects the steward to be responsible with those goods, and bring about their increase. Everything we have is a gift of God, and we have to recognize this by being good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure.

It goes beyond that. As Pope Francis reminds us in his recent encyclical, we have to have good stewardship of our Earth. We have to be good stewards of our bodies, and realize that they are meant to be used according to God’s plan.

Understood properly, stewardship ties all these elements together. We work with the pastors of five parishes who have volunteered to work toward becoming stewardship parishes to implement this spirituality of stewardship in their parishes, which begins with commitment Sundays. We ask people to begin with a commitment to time in prayer, adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and involvements of time in their parishes. Pretty far down the line we talk to them about sharing their treasure.

CWR: How is the archdiocese doing for vocations to the priesthood and religious life?

Archbishop Cordileone: We’re doing well, but we could be doing better. We should be doing better. I find that young people who present themselves for vocations have a great love for God and the Church, and have a desire to serve. I’ve been impressed by the level of maturity of our seminarians.

Some who come to us have family issues to overcome, or suffer from a lack of catechesis. They have some catch-up work to do. We need people who are seeking the truth, and have a love for learning.

Our challenge is that we need more. If we had triple the number of seminarians, we’d be in a good situation.

Let me return to stewardship, as it is tied to vocations. Successful stewardship is not just a process that takes a few years; it is multi-generational. It has to go way beyond my time in San Francisco. We are working with a firm that has been working for some years with leaders in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas. Wichita has a program that started in the 1970s; they have been very successful, and are a model for the country.

Wichita is a diocese with people who are happy and proud to be Catholic. They have thousands of volunteers. They, for example, run a dining room that serves 2,000 meals to the poor each day, and it is staffed entirely by parishioners. Their Catholic schools do not charge tuition.
They have a diocese of 110,000 Catholics, and have 50 seminarians. This is a very high proportion, as compared to other places.

CWR: What kind of support would you like to receive from the rank-and-file Catholic in the pew who supports what you’re doing in San Francisco?

Archbishop Cordileone: Learn to be an advocate for our understanding of the common good. Become well educated in the issues in the debate, and understand your bishop’s thinking on the issue. Evangelize in your sector of influence, but do so by becoming well-informed.

Letters of support are welcome. Offer your expertise, and become involved in stewardship. Assist the work of your bishop or priest in the parish.

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  1. Michael McDermott says:

    The ‘Digital First Media’ (successor the old Dean Singleton Media Monopoly that put POTUS Barry ‘on the down low’ Soetoro in office, with Heavy Censorship all along) -BIAS Against the Church, Marriage & Catholic Values is Pervasive & Growing.

    Just today the Sunday Edition published a list of ‘Populist’ Acts including replacing Governor gay davis with ‘Der Arnold’ – But Omitted Prop 8 Successfully placing Marriage in the CA Constitution.
    However – a story across the page featured Ted Olson (defending Apple evidence withholding) – praising his Attack on Prop 8 in the Farce in Frisco.

    Who Controls the Media is More Important than any ‘news’
    ” Digital First Media bid for ownership of Orange County Register,…

  2. Anonymous II says:

    This concept of “stewardship,” which may be used by many Protestant churches– is a sad “gimmick,” to replace a True Church, of well-catechized, practicing Catholics, naturally involved in their parish, sending their kids to Catholic school, sending many of their sons to be priests, and many of their daughters to become nuns. Many in the past, gave their pennies, though very poor, and their freely-offered labors, to build vey great churches and cathedrals! No– we don’t need this “gimmick” of “Protestant-style “stewardship,” of a totally-anarchist, undisciplined, un-catechized, irresponsible, and UNTRUSTWORTHY Church!

  3. Anonymous II says:

    The reason that the Catholic “stewardship” program seems to work well in Wichita, Kansas, is that there is a better, and more stable, traditional American culture, in that region, of more responsible Christian people, Catholic and Protestant. The West Coast is extremely irresponsible, immoral, anti-Traditional Marriage, anti-family, and un-Christian, with a totally shattered, once-traditional American culture, by comparison! I would rather move to Wichita, Kansas– except everywhere you go in our country, these days, there are tremendous “liberal, immoral-hippie” problems! And instead of earthquakes– you suffer from tornados, in Kansas!

    • Catherine says:

      Anonymous II, I agree with what you have written about using “gimmicks.” The most liberal parishes.. (AKA Catholic-lite,watered down) in our diocese have used Protestant sounding “gimmicks” for years. What ends up happening is an over-abundance of horizontal “stewardship” distractions while the most important vertical purpose, (that which upholds the True Faith, by first focusing on the salvation of souls) is placed so far back on the back burner, that no one really knows what the Church actually teaches. Many have placed the horizontal cart that is chuck full of “gimmicks” and distractions before the horse that should LEAD with the Fullness of Truth. The carts are so mired down in the gimmick/ pc mud that they do not see it.

  4. The best way is to encourage friends, relatives and others to attend the TLM. At these Masses, at least the congregation will hear solid sermons, and will not witness looney liturgies. The chancery offices are to blame, so giving money to support these temples of doom should be done most sparingly. Instead give donations to the FSSP, Christ the King, and other priestly societies that really care about the spiritual welfare of the people.

  5. Michael McDermott says:

    We Need This On the Left Coast Too:

    “MassResistance was there countering LGBT intimidation and disinformation campaign.
    Outraged parents recruiting candidates for school board election.
    Facing a large crowd of LGBT activists in the audience in their March 14 meeting, the Franklin County, Tenn. School Board seemingly backed down.
    They had indicated to parents that they would vote to remove the newly formed “gay” club from the county high school.

    But instead of taking any action, they surprised everyone by briefly discussing some proposed rule changes for all school clubs (designed to put constraints on the “gay” club) – then simply…

  6. Michael McDermott says:

    Where to start??
    “There will be Hell to pay for Notre Dame.

    Quick: What do Notre Dame, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Goergetown all have in common?

    They have each given high honors to child-killers. But more than that: They have used the Catholic faith to try and rationalize their actions and somehow make these evil acts appear somehow Catholic.

    The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York city had for Grand Marshal this year former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a defiant opponent of life in the womb. Georgetown University continues to sign its spiritual death warrant by having the head of Baby…

  7. Michael McDermott says:

    Jail Time 4 Thought Crime:

    City Threatens to Arrest Ministers Who Refuse to Perform Same-Sex Weddings
    Two Christian ministers who own Idaho Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene. were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to $1,000 in fines, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

    “Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” attorney Jeremy Tedesco told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.” the minister that he could be fined up to $1,000 and serve up to 180 days in jail.

    Now all of that was a moot point because…

  8. Michael McDermott says:

    BTW – Knowing the basics Helps You Witness to others. Here are some:

    Eight Questions Non-Catholics (and many cradle Catholics) Almost Always Ask When They Attend Mass

    Whether it’s non-Catholics who attend Mass with their Catholic significant other or folks who are inquiring about the faith; if you weren’t brought up with Mass, your first (and second and third…) time can be very confusing—making people feel like they’re, “around a secret that I’m not in on.”

    Here are some answers to some of the really excellent, frequently asked questions that newbie’s bring with them.

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