Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and observed how the crowd put money into the temple treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. But a poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
This gospel reading proclaims the sacrificial giving message loud and clear: Give without counting the cost; give not from your surplus, but from your substance. Give not what’s left over; give even when nothing much may be left over. Give as the widow of the gospel gave when she placed her two paltry coins – all she had to live on – into the temple treasury.
Our parish isn’t just a place we go on Sundays. It’s a family of faith, where we are nourished, comforted, and challenged. Our parish family is there for us in good times and bad, and in our name, it extends a loving hand to the needy and the poor.
Sacrificial giving is what makes it possible for this parish community to reach out to those in need, to celebrate the Church’s liturgy with beauty and dignity, to offer faith formation, to pay our staff a living wage, to sustain our musical programs, and to maintain this 125-year old house of worship. It’s about giving back to God what he has given to us. It’s not the size of the gift that’s important, but rather giving of our substance—giving what we have, giving even when it’s not easy to give.
At Saint Cecilia, we embrace Christian stewardship as an intentional, planned, and proportionate giving of our time, talent, and treasure. Like any household, our parish looks at income and expenses each year to estimate what we can afford for church operations and new or ongoing programs. This task is made easier when parishioners make an annual financial commitment to the parish. This enables us to more accurately anticipate our income and budget accordingly.
An increasing number of parishioners are choosing to support Saint Cecilia Parish through our Offertory Commitment Program (OCP).
What is the Offertory Commitment Program?
The OCP offers parishioners an opportunity to support the broad range of ministries at Saint Cecilia Parish and transition from weekly giving to a system of sustainable investments according to the budgetary means of each person.
Why this program?
Typically, offertory giving is based largely on attendance at the Sunday liturgy. However, in today’s mobile society, people are often away on weekends and are, therefore, not in attendance at Sunday Mass. The OCP allows a parishioner to decide on an appropriate level of support, make a commitment to the parish and its ministries, and fulfill that commitment in one of several ways. We encourage participation in the OCP because it truly assists our parish in the planning and budgeting process, allowing us to rely on a sustained and predictable level of offertory support.
How is the Program Structured?
Parishioners are asked to prayerfully consider the level of commitment that they can offer the parish. Each parishioner then chooses the method of offertory support that best meets his or her own budgeting and planning needs. The options include an offertory commitment that can be fulfilled in annual, semi-annual, quarterly, monthly (the preferred method), or weekly contributions.
How does each method work?
If you choose an annual, semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly method of support, we will mail a commitment reminder and reply envelope just after the first Sunday of each month. You may then either fulfill your offertory commitment when you attend Mass or you may mail it anytime prior to the end of that month, whichever is more convenient for you. We also offer online giving if you prefer to use a credit card or have the funds electronically transferred from your checking or savings account. This eliminates the need for reminders, reply envelopes, and checks, and there is no cost to you.
In order to keep our records of your account up-to-date, we ask that all offertory support be received by the end of each month.
The need around us is overwhelming, but as a family of faith, we can do infinitely more than we can as individuals. Together, we can reach out in the name of Christ to the poor, the elderly, and the immigrant. We can celebrate in a powerful way the mysteries of our faith; and we can provide a refuge and a gathering place for the city in times of sorrow and rejoicing.
Let us commit ourselves to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us: by participating regularly and actively in the Sunday Eucharist; by sharing our time and talent with our community; and by making a prayerful commitment to support Saint Cecilia Parish financially, to the extent we are able, in the coming year.