A few years ago I was at a conference on stewardship up in Boston to give a presentation, and when I wasn’t “on” I was free to sit in on other seminars and panels. One I wandered into drew me into discussion with the financial administrators of dioceses all over the country and one of them said something that I haven’t forgotten: The main problem in keeping our churches going, he said, was their “seeming inevitability” – that they’d always “be there” when people wanted them.
I see this regularly, when people come to Our Lady of Grace for a wedding, or a funeral for a family member, or for baptism or first communion or confirmation for a daughter or a son: Even if they haven’t been worshipping here for decades, they just presume that the church will be there when they need it. And I’m happy to be able to oblige them if I can.
But you and I both know that the church isn’t “inevitable”: our parish is here for those who want our services occasionally because people like you and me support it every week. (The doesn’t make us morally superior to people who don’t; who knows what’s going on in the lives and souls of others, and I’m not passing judgment.) But it’s a fact that if everyone supported the parish only when they wanted its services, the church would no longer be “inevitable”: It would be history.
You and I both know that our parish relies on our regular support: prayer, service, and financial sacrifice. And I like to make it easier for you to support our parish financially in whatever ways I can; that’s why we adopted WeShare for electronic giving this past year. With WeShare you can set up regular contributions to our parish monthly (or weekly, if you prefer) from a credit- or debit-card, or from a bank account. You can change or stop whenever you want. (You can also pay tuition for parish programs through WeShare.) As the summer starts, I’d like to recommend that you take a look at it if you’re not already using it. WeShare can be a help to you, and to our parish, during the summer.
Many of us (including myself) go away for a week or two in July or August. That’s evident here at the church in a drop in attendance at Mass (understandably), and in lower collections (problematic). Some of you, I know, “make up” for missed donations to the Sunday collection when you get back – and that’s admirable. Others, I’m sure, intend to but forget. With WeShare that problem goes away – your offerings go to support Our Lady of Grace whether you’re here at Mass that week or not.
So find out more: There are brochures in the pews, and you can see for yourself by going to the parish website (www.ourladyofgrace.net) and clicking on the WeShare icon on the landing page. If you want to get started with giving through WeShare all you do is to create an account (like at eBay or Amazon.com), and enter the information on how and how much you want to give. Everything is under your control, and WeShare follows the highest security standards in the industry.
More and more parishioners are using WeShare. I know from my own use how simple and effective it is. When you get back from vacation our parish will still be here for you; enjoy your time away, and do your part while you’re gone. Until next week, peace.