My name is Tom Villella and I have been a parishioner for 27 years. I am going to discuss what this parish has meant to me over these years.
When I joined, I came for my children. I did not have any yet but I wanted them to learn about Christianity.
I was skeptical at first. I had had some bad breaks in my life and to that point the church did not seem to be the answer. Well, I learned the hard way that you get back what you put in. As I grew more connected to the church with baptisms and the like I started to see a benefit I did not see before. I started finding answers and wisdom on how to cope with daily struggles (the long Island railroad and NYC subway were large parts of my stress).
I heard talk of time and treasure and started to volunteer time and give away treasure. My benefits grew. I initially decided to stop spending money on fancy coffees and instead giving to the church. The parish can use the money. I got some benefits in real life too, a smaller pants size for one.
I do not come to church for my children anymore. They are adults. I come for me. Over the years the church has been the one constant during times of joy or grief and it became something I wanted to be part of. I also learned over the years that I do not need to keep up with the latest fads. During periods of unemployment I learned again the hard way that I could live without certain luxuries.
I learned that I could give more than I thought. Stewardship to me means maintaining something that I treasure. I am very happy that our parish reaches out to those less fortunate and I want that to continue. I want other families to enjoy the benefits of religious education and the vibrant community of believers. I want the benefits and am willing to help pay the costs.
I will leave you with my final thoughts on this subject. I benefit from this parish and to me, supporting it is the right thing to do.
Have a good evening.