Stewardship Talk

(November 9, 2003, Holy Family, Seattle)

Good morning to all, my name is Roberto Cayetano and beside me is my wife, Nida, my daughter Rei and son Josh. We have been members of Holy Family Church since 1983. When Fr. Bloom called us last week and asked us to share about our experience on stewardship and sacrificial giving, a feeling of anxiety rushed through my mind. I was nervous because I might not know what to say. Im not a good public speaker and I didnt think it was a good idea to talk about our personal finances. Besides, our checkbook has forever been slim and on a diet. That thought didnt last very long, before Fr. Bloom and I hung up the phone, I found myself saying, Yes Fr. Bloom, well be happy to do it.

Our family first heard of stewardship early on when we became members of Holy Family. Our initial reaction to the concept of stewardship was not very positive because we were really tight on money. Like most families, our family struggles with financial difficulties. At that time, were only one income household, a wife, a toddler, a baby, and a mother-in-law. When my son started school in Holy Family, we also started volunteering our time to help out in school and in the church. In one instance, an electrical problem occurred in the Ailbe House, without hesitation, I volunteered to help out in fixing the electrical problem. I was informed that I helped saved the church a good sum of money. A feeling of joy overwhelmed me because I was able to take a step in giving my fair share of contribution, yet, something was still lacking. Though I gave time and talent, our giving of treasure was nil. Our giving was unplanned and often considered an optional expense. Five years ago, my wife became very ill. Our family was devastated and we prayed for her life. She was unable to work, and the toll on financial difficulty heightened even more for us. There are the doctor bills, mortgage, utilities, car payments, and credit cards. Despite our financial situation, our faith in God remains strong. We prayed more as a family and trusted in the Lord to care for our needs. The story from the Scripture about a poor widow that gave from her want as she dropped her last two coins into the treasury box appeared as true to life story for our family and it has truly inspired us. We took the plunge to pledge a good sum to Annual Catholic Appeal, something that weve wanted to do for a long time. Weve also increased our giving to the parish and other charities - this time its all planned and with commitment from our hearts. With that, we started to re-evaluate our priorities. Its amazing to discover that when we became conscious about spending, we found areas where we can still save money. Something about our life changed in order to be able to give the gift.

Our family became really serious about serving the Lord through others. We became members of Catholic Charismatic Group called BLD and we help the youth ages 13-21 to know God in their walk through life by coordinating seminars, encounters, and reunions. We also volunteer our time as extra ordinary Eucharistic ministers for the church. How can we say thanks to God for all the blessings and the abundance of life He had given our family? The offering of our very lives is not even enough to thank our Creator. We thank God for giving my wife a second chance to live, we thank God for the opportunity to witness to our children the value of giving back to God from the blessings weve received. And above all we thank God for we have experienced the joy of sharing and gratefully giving.

Our family prays that you also experience the joy that we experienced in giving. We urge you all to take a look at all that God has given you and to make a generous response to his many gifts.