Dear people of Saint Anne:
In Jesus’ day, a manager or steward was charged with governing their employer’s affairs, while also selling merchandise. Anything sold beyond an established price point was essentially a manager’s take-home pay.
In today’s gospel, an employer discovers that his manager had been overcharging his buyers and demands a full accounting. Knowing he is about to be fired, the manager approaches the employer’s buyers and quickly reduces their respective bills. Because the manager was overcharging them to begin with, he wasn’t reducing his employer’s profit, but rather his own financial gain. The manager is recognized for being shrewd and capable of survival in a dishonest world. But that really isn’t the point. The point is that you cannot be dishonest in your pursuit of wealth and truly serve God. If you are blessed with wealth, it’s meant to be used in service to God.
Wealth doesn’t have to be money. God also blesses us with time and talent, and as the Director of Hope Ministries, I have witnessed how so many within the Saint Anne Catholic Community use time, talent and treasure in service to God by helping those in need. Hope Ministries is a ministry within the Saint Anne parish and the parent ministry of Project Hope and the House of Hope Resale Shop. Project Hope provides outreach to those needing food or financial assistance for housing, transportation, utilities or medical support. Last year, dozens of Project Hope volunteers provided more than 2,000 volunteer hours assisting thousands in need. At House of Hope, which is the funding arm of the ministry, nearly 300 people gave more than 50,000 volunteer hours last year alone to help support our ministry activities.
But don’t let that number fool you. While there are nearly 300 listed volunteers, less than half are routinely active – which means that the lion’s share of those 50,000 volunteer hours came from about 100 or so volunteers who are absolutely committed to ensuring the poor, marginalized or disenfranchised have the needed resources to live. Last year, those combined 52,000 volunteer hours was the equivalent of more than $1.3 million as determined by Independent Sector, a Washington based advocacy coalition for nonprofits.
Independent Sector values one volunteer hour at $25.69. This is significant because if House of Hope or Project Hope were to hire the required assistance to operate the store or office, there literally would be no funds to help those in need. And that’s why volunteers are so critical to our mission. For the ministry to continue its outreach efforts within the community, it requires many more committed volunteers.
Today, we are celebrating all our ministry volunteers with a special Mass and luncheon. They all more than deserve that appreciation. But the beauty of our volunteers is that none of them would ever ask for recognition. They are happy knowing they have given their time and talent in service to those in need. They have made a difference in so many lives. I hope you will consider the same.
Hope Ministries 847.381.5721
House of Hope 847.550.2000