We are a Tithing Parish! Praise God!
Today, in our country, the Catholic Church depends greatly on bingo, raffles, and other similar activities for support. Despite all the effort, these methods never seem adequate. That is why I`m presenting for your consideration an approach to church support that has its foundation in God`s inspired word. We might call it "God`s Plan for Giving."
Tithing in the Bible ... Tithing is mentioned more than 40 times in scripture. Numerous Old Testament stories recount how God asked that the first ten percent of the land`s produce be set aside as a sign of gratitude for His goodness. The early Church had no tithing system, but as it grew, so did its material needs. Gradually, the Old Testament model of tithing was adopted. A number of regional Church Councils and finally the Council of Trent made the tithe Church law. With the later separation of Church and State, tithing was abandoned.
And Today . . . In our time, the difficulty of raising funds for the growing needs of the Church has led to a modified and voluntary system of tithing. Since 1977, more than 900 Catholic parishes in the Northeast have become tithing parishes.
What is a Tithe? The word tithe means tenth. A tithe is the first tenth of a wage earner`s in¬come. It`s giving back to God something God gave in the first place. Tithing is not any tenth; it`s the first tenth of one`s income--salary, dividends, interest--income from any source.
How Does Tithing Work? Five percent of one`s income is given to God through the parish church. The other 5% can be used for the Bishop`s Appeal, Catholic school tuition, care of one`s parents, special diocesan collections, and private charities. The spirit of tithing, the most important part of the program, means giving to God, not to me, your pastor, or to this church. And it means giving to a point of sacrifice for the word sacrifice means "to make holy." The spirit of tithing means not caring what anyone else gives; it`s spiritual giving in every sense. What you give to God is between you and God. The ideal tithe of 5% to God`s church and 5% to His other works can be explained by an example.
If your income from all sources before taxes is $300 per week, the 5% Sunday Mass offering would be $15.00. You might give the other 5% to private charities, parish school tuition, and diocesan extra collections. Tithing is really very logical. Everything we have comes from God, and when we give back the first 10% of our earnings, we`re saying to Him, "Thank you, God, for letting me use the other nine-tenths!"
What Are the benefits to the Tither and to the Parish? Every parish that has adopted this method has improved its spiritual and material status. It means one collection for the parish at the Offertory of the Mass with the true spirit of offering oneself with the offering of Christ. And for the individual, tithing tells us what God expects. Most important for the tither, however, is the spiritual effect. Tithing helps establish a proper sense of values. It helps us to remember that God comes before all else and that everything we have comes from Him.
And when you pray, please remember that the true purpose of tithing is to secure not the tithe, but the tither; not the gift, but the giver; not your money, but you--for God.