Our parish formally embarked on the path of stewardship as a directive of our Parish Pastoral Council by forming a Stewardship Committee in 2005. Following a Stewardship of Time and Talent campaign in 2006, we spiritually embraced stewardship of treasure in 2007 by becoming a tithing parish. In that same year, in cooperation with our Finance Council, we made the commitment to tithe our own tithe by forming a Tithe the Tithe Committee that would distribute 10% of our ordinary income for the purpose of outreach locally, nationally and internationally. What a fruitful journey this has been.
Tithing in the Bible . . .
Tithing is mentioned more than 40 times in the Bible. Numerous Old Testament stories recount how God asked that the first ten percent of the land’s produce be set aside as a sign of gratitude for His goodness. The early Church had no tithing system, but as it grew, so did its material needs. Gradually, the Old Testament model of tithing was adopted. A number of regional Church Councils and finally the Council of Trent made the tithe Church law.
And today . . .
In our own diocese the practice of tithing, once almost forgotten, is again spreading from parish to parish. A vibrant spiritual renewal is unfolding, characterized by loving outreach and evangelization.
What is a tithe?
The word tithe means tenth. A tithe is the first ten percent of our income. It’s giving back to God something God gave us in the first place. Tithing is not any tenth; it’s the first tenth of our income—salary, dividends, interest, or income from any source.
How does tithing work?
Five percentof one’s income is given to God through the parish church. The other five percent can be used for the Lenten Appeal, Catholic school tuition, care of one’s parents, special collections, and private charities. The spirit of tithing, the most important part of this way of life, means giving to God, not to your pastor, or to this parish. And it means giving to a point of sacrifice, for the word sacrifice means “to make holy.” The spirit of tithing means not caring what anyone else gives; it’s spiritual giving in every sense. What you give to God is between you and God. The ideal tithe of five percent to God’s Church and five percent to His other works can be explained by example.
If your income from all sources before taxes is $300 per week, the five percent Sunday Mass offering would be $15. You might give the other five percent to private charities, parish school tuition, and diocesan extra collections. Tithing is really very logical. Everything we have comes from God, and when we give back the first ten percent of our earnings, we’re saying to Him, “Thank you, God, for letting me use the other nine-tenths!”
What are the benefits to the one who tithes and to the parish?
Since we have adopted tithing, our parish has been able to joyfully extend our outreach and evangelization in ways that we could never have imagined, wonderful opportunities to touch countless lives. Still we know we can do so much more. To understand the benefits for those tithing . . . well just listen to their stories quoted in the bulletin weekly and captured in the video this weekend. Tithing helps us spiritually to offer ourselves sacrificially with the offering of Christ. Sure, it tells us what God expects, but even more importantly it helps establish our values . . . that God comes before all else and that everything we have comes from Him.
- Fr. Brian Olkowski, Pastor
- Nina Eshleman, Chair
- Jean Payeur
- Paul Sescilla
- Tina Skubon
- Mary Lynn Devine
- Sue Greiner
- Tonna Carbaugh