When Deacon John requested we write a letter of Stewardship, we agreed, but I have to tell you it isn’t necessarily something that comes easily or is comfortable for us to do. We love helping our Parish and those in need, but we are not doing it to impress others or to boast. “One size doesn’t fit all.” We each have our own way of helping others and spreading our time, talent and treasures. We do appreciate stewardship done by everyone, knowing we are all doing the best we can.
We are Al and Marcia Sauline. Many of you know Al from when he held various elective offices, including City Mayor. Al and I met in 1969, while he was an usher at the 12:55 Mass (referred to as “the 5 to 1 Mass”) here at St. Patrick’s Church. I loved that Al didn’t hesitate to volunteer as an usher and assist his Parish whenever and wherever needed. Although I wasn’t Catholic, every Sunday we attended Mass and then joined his family for the traditional Italian Sunday pasta dinner, which I loved! I was so impressed by the Mass and St. Patrick’s Parish family that we agreed to be married here in 1971 and have been active members ever since! We are also blessed with a son, Al III, who is an Attorney living in Florida and has continued the family tradition of Stewardship in the Panama City Beach area.
Stewardship is not a one size fits all. Jesus stresses the importance of “What you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” (Matthew 25:40) However, the manner you give back to God is only known to you and God. He has blessed each of us in unique ways and each of us can be good Stewards according to our unique talents, treasure and time. The key here is to contribute what you can, however you can. Only you and God know what you truly have to give. Remember, a small task done in obedience to God is a big accomplishment!
One of our favorite readings is read annually at the Ash Wednesday Mass. We enjoy the entire reading, but just a portion of it is, “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” and another portion “…so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6:1-4) We have always strongly believed in helping our Parish and those in need; however our greatest joy comes from anonymously helping those in need. All that matters to us is that God knows who we’ve helped and how. Although that is our favorite way to be a good steward, it is not to say we are not involved and visible in our Parish as well. To put our Stewardship in writing feels like boasting, but how can we talk about Stewardship and not share the ways we have been Stewards?
As stated earlier, Al has been an usher since the 60s. He has also worked the Parish Festival for most of our married life, including Co-chairing the Festival for 8 straight years! Al has served on various Parish committees and was awarded the 2008 Difference Maker’s Person of the Year by Father Tim’s Difference Makers. I also have worked the Parish Festival for most of our married life, was the Founder of the Chinese Auction Booth (now Basket Raffle) and chaired it for 8 years. I served on Parish Council, am a Lector at 11:00 Mass, a Leader of Children’s Liturgy of the Word, a member of our Prayer Chain since its inception, and volunteered in the Parish office from 2005–2015. Together Al and I have decorated the church for holidays, baked for our Parish Fish Frys and various Parish festivities, worked Super Bingo and participated in Fr. Tim’s Difference Makers. We also served for over five years as a Sponsor Couple to many wonderful young couples getting married.
We have been blessed and try to give back every day. It is an honor and a privilege to be active Stewards at St. Patrick’s Parish.
Last, but not least, remember God knows your heart and your assets. One size doesn’t fit all, but to whom much is given, much is expected.