by Lesle Knop
On a busy Sunday last month, we scurried from our parish to our daughter’s parish and then to the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kansas.
First, we joined a bright young girl for her first confirmation sponsor meeting, then hurried to Mass and the baptism of our youngest granddaughter, and, finally, attended the Red Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.
By the end of the day, I was both amazed and grateful for the way the Holy Spirit is at work in my life. But why “boundless joy” in the headline? Because I realized how God calls me to my lay vocation and three ways I am blessed to serve him in this life.
First, I am called to be a wife, and mother, and, now, grandmother. The joy in my heart at the baptism of my daughter’s daughter was effervescent as cousins, aunts, uncles and friends gathered to pray for her.
Second, like all lay Catholics, I have been called to share and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. It is an honor to be asked to sponsor a person as they prepare for their confirmation. What a joy it is to answer questions and shower someone with love as Christ loves me.
Third, I have been called to work, and in my job I am privileged to give people opportunities to share their gifts and to assist the church in ways that hardly seem like work at all.
Helping to organize events such as the Red Mass, which rotates annually between our archdiocese and the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, allows me to participate in beautiful liturgies and hear amazing homilies.
When Msgr. Stuart Swetland, the president of Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, described the gifts of the Holy Spirit in his Red Mass homily, I thought of Mary who listened at the Lord’s feet. “This surely is joyful work,” I thought.
In just a few weeks, I will retire from my position as executive director of the office of stewardship and development and the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas (CFNEK).
Throughout the past 14 years writing this regular “Simply Stewardship” column, I have tried to think first about you, the reader.
My common themes have been family, our work on behalf of parishes and school communities, and how we are called to follow Jesus as Christian stewards.
Every day can be a day of boundless joy if we wake up with a grateful heart. Each new day is an opportunity to love and serve the Lord. Each day is a chance to experience God’s presence in our lives. That is stewardship, my friends. It is a disciple’s response.
Note: Allow me to thank my co-workers for their kindness: my boss, Father John Riley, the chancellor, for his prayerful support; the CFNEK board of directors; and especially Archbishop Naumann, for his wisdom and steadfast love for all of us.
And, finally, please join me in prayer for all who serve the church. May the Holy Spirit guide their words and actions in the years ahead and fill their days with “boundless joy.”