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A stewardship story Print
Guest column
Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

He looked very young. I guess he had to be about nine years old. But, to look at him you’d say he was more like six or seven.

He stood in the sacristy dressed in his white cassock, looking more like he was waiting to be led to the gallows rather then serve at Mass.

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A nervous first-time server

I walked over to him and asked, “Is this your first time serving at Mass?” He looked up, swallowed, and said, “Yes, and I know I’m going to screw up!”

I tried not to smile, but it was obvious that he was very nervous. I said, “Well, you’ve been to Mass many times and you’ve watched what the servers were doing. Just do the same things that they did and you’ll be okay.”

These words of wisdom did absolutely nothing to ease his concern. “Don't worry about it; there is a cheat sheet on the chair you’ll be using that gives you step by step instructions of what you have to do. Just follow the sheet and everything will be okay.”

I was sure that that little tidbit of information would do the trick. He looked up again and said, “But this is the 10 o’clock Mass . . . the busiest Mass of the weekend . . . the church will be full of people . . . I know I’m going to do something wrong . . . everyone will be watching.”

I took him by the hand, went to the chair he would be using, and showed him the cheat sheet I referred to.

We went over it completely; I even made him read it to let him get comfortable with the information. We went back into the sacristy and I asked, “Well, are you okay? Would you like me to see if I can find someone to replace you?”

Giving back to God

After a few seconds, he looked up and said, “NO. Mr. Kordell [David Kordell, parish director of religious formation] said that not everyone gets a chance to be a server . . . it is special to be a part of the Mass, and I want to do my part.

“Mr. Kordell said that every person, young or old, needs to give back to God a part of what we have. I don’t have anything that I can give, like money, but I can give some of my time. Mr. Kordell says a server gives back to God every time he serves. That’s why I need to serve today!”

I smiled as I looked at the boy. “You know, with that kind of attitude, I think you’re going to be one of the best servers St. Cecilia ever had. Just do the best you can and trust that God will help you get it right.”

He smiled and went to join the rest of the liturgical ministers for the procession that starts every Mass. And, when Mass was over, he proudly marched down the aisle to end the service. And, he did everything perfectly.

Sharing time, talent, and treasure

The purpose of the story is to remind everyone that as members of the Catholic Church, we do have the obligation to give back to God a measure of our time, talent, and treasure. That is what Catholic stewardship is all about.

So when the Offertory basket comes by, share your treasure; when you get a call to help with a project that you are skilled in, share your talent; and when you’re asked to be a part of a committee or project or to fill in at Mass, share your time.

God has given each of us so much, we truly need to give back to God a portion . . . just don’t screw it up!

Frank Zawlocki is director of stewardship and development at St. Cecilia Parish in Wisconsin Dells.