Stewardship is making room around the table

Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

We cram 14 chairs and two highchairs around our dining room table in order to accommodate our kids, their spouses and little ones.

If we are blessed with more grandchildren, the piano bench will hold two. The child’s picnic table will work fine in the front hall for at least four. There’s always room for more.

I know how my mother felt when all six of her children and our families would gather at her house for feasts and holy days. She loved the noise, the crowded kitchen, the rambunctious cousins, our jokes, and the long games of pitch or dominoes when the dishes were finally done.

Speaking of cousins, my youngest niece approached me at my daughter’s wedding reception a few weeks ago and asked a very important question.

“Aunt Lesle,” she said, shyly, “I have a huge favor to ask. It will take two years, because that’s how we do it in Texas, but will you be my sponsor for confirmation?”

“Of course,” I replied happily while hugging her, a young girl on the verge of womanhood. According to her mom, she’s a good student who reads constantly, has lots of friends, and earned a spot on her high school tennis team. I’ve known her all her life, yet I wondered: Who is this thoughtful child, now almost as tall as I am? What does she know about her faith?

The next day I asked our parish youth minister for recommended reading for young Catholics and, with a click or two on the Internet, a few books were on their way to my niece in Texas. I pray God opens her heart and her mind with his grace!

This is an exciting time in the church in northeast Kansas. More than 30 young people in our parish were confirmed by Abbot Barnabas Senecal, OSB, at the beginning of this month. Our archbishops are confirming hundreds more. RCIA programs are beginning in our parishes. Hundreds of adult catechumens will be initiated through baptism, the sacrament of reconciliation, their first Eucharist, and confirmation into the Catholic Church next Easter. This Oct. 11 marked the beginning of the Holy Father’s Year of Faith, and the archdiocesan Faith Initiative is underway.

The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, draws us together. There is a great joy in welcoming others into our community of believers. Welcome to the table, where no one should be lonely. Where there is no room for injustice. Where everything is a gift. Where there is an abundance of blessings to share. Where God’s presence lives in the words and deeds of the faithful. Where there is love.

Where there is always room for more.

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