Deacon John’s Stewardship Blog

The opportunities to be a good steward for the Lord are endless.

We are the Behnke family, Freddy, Danielle, James, and Annaleigh. We began attending St. Patrick Church not long after James was born in 2006, and officially converted to Catholicism in 2010. James and Annaleigh were both baptized at St. Pat’s, and all of us received our sacrament of First Holy Communion here as well. We decided to join St. Pat’s after feeling a sense of belonging here, more so than any church we had attended throughout our lives.

Not long after joining St. Pat’s, there was a ministry fair held after Mass one Sunday. I (Danielle) decided to go down to the church hall to see what it was about. Although speaking in public was never something I had any desire to do, I felt compelled to sign up to be a lector. I was terrified before my first reading but knew immediately afterwards that I had made the right decision. Since that day, our entire family has found ways to be positive stewards by joining various ministries and volunteering at the annual festival and Lenten fish fries.

Stewardship, however, is much more than what we do for our St. Patrick family. It could be mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway for an elderly or incapacitated neighbor. It could be a smile and hello for someone longing to be greeted by a friendly face. It could be setting time aside each week to pray for a random person you encountered the previous week. Whether your acts are large or small, Christ’s light shining through you will be apparent. The opportunities to be a good steward for the Lord are endless, you need only be ready and willing to do so with a glad heart. “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” (Colossians 3:23).


Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) There is a clipping of this scripture on our refrigerator. It serves as a daily reminder to us both and is one of the stones on which we have tried to build a life of stewardship. Listening to God as he helps us to navigate our life journey is truly what guides us and for him we are truly grateful. —Mass is a special and sacred time for us. When we are at home, it is important for us to be at St. Pat’s and spend time with our church family. When we are traveling, one of the first things we do is find the church and the Mass times and schedule ourselves accordingly. It is in that quiet time, that we are able to hear God, through scripture and prayer, finding answers and guidance.

Selfless giving, as Father Tim used to speak of, is another part of our spiritual life. We make a conscious effort to implement this in our lives regularly. First and foremost within our home and our families.  As God’s children, it is not our place to give of ourselves looking for anything in return. Rather, it is in these times that we hear the quiet whisper of Him telling us what to do and we do it without question.  —We give freely of ourselves at our jobs and, of course, at church. We have both participated in the Renewal programs and are all the better for it.

Living a life of stewardship is not always an easy task. Lamentations 3: 22-23, states “His mercies are new every day.” And, with each day, he forgives us and leads us again.

God has blessed us in so many ways. It is to him that we give the Glory.

Your Brother and Sister in Christ,

Kevin and Janet Barren


Stewardship Through the Festival

Once again, festival time has arrived! This year’s festival marks a very special occasion for our parish, that being, the 60th anniversary of our parish festival. I can only imagine the early days of the festival that began as a bazaar in the basement of the church. I have enjoyed hearing many stories about those early days…the booths that were separated by curtains, and how the ladies would prepare their favorite dishes in their homes and sell them at the bazaar. Those early days were a time of excitement, commitment and an abundance of joy for the parish. I could remember as a young boy over 50 years ago, that attending the festival was our family tradition. Looking back, I realize that it was a nice time for my mom because she didn’t have to cook for a few days.

I am truly convinced that the passion and commitment of those parishioners who served at the very first festival some 60 years ago, is alive and well in our parish today. We have a multitude of parishioners, both young and old, committed to making our diamond anniversary festival the best one ever through the giving of their time, talent and treasure.

I believe most of us would agree that over the last several years we have made great gains in the appearance of our church grounds and improvements to our facilities. We are a parish on the move! This is due in a great part to our commitment to the spirit of stewardship our parish family has embraced whole heartedly. Our parish festival is our largest fundraiser of the year and has funded many of the improvements we all have enjoyed.

With God’s help, this year’s festival will set the mark that leads us into the next 60 years. Guided by the leadership of our pastor, Fr. Mike, many new and innovative changes have been made to make our parish festival one to be extremely proud of. Just to mention a few changes, this year we will have electronic ordering and credit card payments, a gourmet coffee and popcorn shop and an enhanced food menu including grilled chicken salad, Avalon Brier Hill pizza, all sandwiches served on bakery fresh bread, and stuffed cabbage and haluski prepared the “old world” way. The BBQ pavilion will rival the best BBQ restaurants around, featuring grilled kielbasa, authentic Greek gyros, lamb, chicken and rib dinners cooked over an open fire and as always, Fr. Mike’s famous steak hoagies that will be served on the midway.

Please save these dates, August 2, 3, 4, and 5. Invite your family, friends and neighbors to join in this year’s 60th anniversary of our St. Pat’s festival. May we continue to embrace our call to live a life of stewardship as we serve Jesus Christ and Mother Church. See you at this year’s festival.

God bless you,
Deacon John Bartos, Director of Stewardship

Ordinary Stewardship

We are the Norris family and we are an ordinary family. When I had to ask the question, “What do we do to lead a life of stewardship?” I realized just how ordinary we are. We don’t have any great acts of service or charity to share. Stewardship to us is taking advantage of the many opportunities life gives you every day to serve others. It is trying to do the right thing and make a positive impact on others.

John and I were married 33 years ago at Holy Rosary Church in Lowellville and joined St. Patrick’s when we moved to Hubbard in 1992. We have 3 daughters Shelby, Rachel and Georganna. It was important to us to instill in them the Catholic faith and the importance of family. We wanted going to church to be something the girls wanted to do and not something they had to do. St. Patrick was the perfect place for us. We always felt welcome even when Georganna was in the middle of the aisle saying Mass with Father Tim or when we have to stop Rachel from high fiving Father Mike when he wishes us a great week ahead. Going to Mass is our time to refocus our lives back to God and reconnect as a family.

Stewardship begins at home in the way you treat your own family. It is the simple things you do because you care. It is baking Granddad his favorite pumpkin dessert and then making brownies too so dad has a treat in his lunch. It is making sure Papa gets to his favorite Chinese buffet even though you don’t like Chinese food. It is listening to Grandma tell the same story over and over again.

We have tried to serve the church. The girls were altar servers and CCD aides. They participated in Celebrate and Rachel served as an adult volunteer. We are Eucharistic ministers and are honored to share the Body and Blood of Christ with others. One of my most cherished memories is having the opportunity offer the cup to each of my girls at their First Communion.

The sacraments and the traditions of the Church have made us a closer family. Going to church to have our basket blessed, attending midnight Mass and Mass at Geneva are favorite memories. We have all been baptism and confirmation sponsors for cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Each time, we were drawn closer to God and each other.

One day Rachel said to me that she was glad that they weren’t raised to believe they were the center of the world. At first I was taken back, but she went on to say that some people just can’t put others ahead of themselves. This ordinary family value is how we live a life of stewardship