The Catholic Community of St. Luke the Evangelist was founded in 1975 on a "Concept of Giving" that formed the basis of our understanding and our participation in Church. This Concept of Giving is today called "Stewardship". St. Luke was extremely fortunate to have a Pastor, Fr. Jesse Judice, who was not only a scripture scholar, but had studied the Vatican II documents on Liturgy and Church in the Modern World.
When Fr. Judice appeared at mass, meetings, workshops, RCIA. etc., he always wove our "need to give" into all his presentations. He did not focus on money particularly but on "giving back to God" for our many blessings. He was always preaching "church" and he was dynamic and exciting in his approach. Parishioners learned and followed his example of Church and our Concept of Giving was the foundation of all that we did and believed as a parish community. The parish of St. Luke tithed as was expected of its parishioners. People became involved by personal contact from leaders and friends who asked them to serve and people began to take ownership of their parish.
Our concept became a "way of life" instead of a once-in-a-while or sometime event.
St. Luke parish did not believe in "fragmented giving" (giving something in order to get something back), we depended entirely on our parishioners' generosity (weekly contributions). Everyone knew we could only offer services that we could afford, and we could only afford what they tithed. In other words, it's just like home, if we don't have the money it doesn't get done. There were no charges for faith formation, the use of the church for sacraments, coffee and donuts, seminars, retreats, etc. Instead, parishioners were asked to pray and discern what they needed to give of their time, talent and treasure.
AFTER 33 YEARS, DOES THIS CONCEPT STILL WORK?
YES! As a community of believers we are here to attest that Stewardship indeed works when it is accepted as a "way of life", for indeed, it is something that cannot be taught from books, but must be lived.