Scott Matrine talks to St. Raphael parishioners about the Annual Pastoral Appeal on Sunday, Feb. 7.
On Annual Pastoral Appeal Sunday, parishioner Scott Matrine spoke to members of the parish about pledging their financial support for the annual appeal. Here is the text of his talk.
Good morning. Most of you know who I am. For those of you who do not, my name is Scott Matirne.
It is hard to believe that 52 weeks, 365 days have passed since I last stood before you to deliver that talk. What is even harder to believe is that it was 1,460 days ago when Monsignor scared me to death and asked me to do my first talk.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity and the privilege to stand you before you the last four years and I thank you along with Monsignor Caverly and Father Spillett for your generosity.
As I prepared for this talk and reflected on who I am today versus who I was four years ago and I realized that I am a better man today than I was then and that through the grace of God I will be a better man tomorrow than I am today. I have come to realize that God has put me here to serve, to do His work and to trust in Him. Sometimes that is easier said than done. As with thousands of others, this has been a very tough year for me and my family.
As my wife and I talked about the changes in our lives over the last year we realized we had the makings of the Perfect Country/Western song. You see, it all started in last September: Our dog died, my wife’s parakeet flew away, I lost my job, my in-laws moved in, I moved to England and six people in my house had to share two bathrooms for three months. Now that has the makings of a number one hit.
As I stand before you today in what is the most difficult and trying time of my life, I am at peace and I have hope. I trust in God and know through his grace I will become the best person I can be, more like Christ. I know he stays by my side, forgives me for my failings and consoles me during difficulties. I know that through him anything is possible.
In 2009 so much was made possible for so many due to your generosity.
The 2009 Annual Appeal pledges totaled $175,385.68. Some 33 per cent or 468 families out of 1,400 families pledged. The average gift per family was $374.76 per family or $37.47 per month over 10 months. The total pledge commitment was up 18 per cent over the previous year. We came in at 83 per cent of our assessment and your generosity is truly appreciated.
So many with so little have so much more because of you.
The theme for 2010 is “Go in Peace To Love and Serve The Lord”
"Serve one another through love ... bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ." – Galatians 5:13,6:2
The Annual Appeal supports:
• Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services, which includes, adoption, family counseling, and HIV / AIDS services to name a few.
• The appeal also supports parochial services, clergy and religious development Catholic education and apostolate.
Our 2010 assessment is $224,000, an increase of $11,655 – a 5% increase – over 2009.
Over that past four years I have tried to simplify what needs to be contributed by each family to reach our goal.
With more than 1,400 families in the parish, we need each family to pledge $16 a month over a 10-month period to reach our goal.
Last year I wanted to increase my contribution so I decided to practice what I preached.
I started brewing coffee at home for my drive into work and was able to increase my contribution due to saving $2 a day that I normally spent at Starbucks. With a little creativity and effort, I am sure we all can find a way to give.
It is easy to participate. You all should have received an envelope in the mail. If not there are some in each pew. Please pass them down. As in the past you can determine how your contribution is allocated. You make a one-time donation or make monthly payments by check or credit card in a 10-month program. No donation is too large or too small.
Every bit helps. The smallest acts of kindness go an incredibly long way. This reminds me of an incredible story.
Bobby was getting colder as he sat outside in the snow. He didn’t wear boots. He did not like them and he didn’t have a pair anyway. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping the snow out.
Bobby had been in his backyard in the snow for about an hour. Try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother’s Christmas gift. He shook his head and thought, “This is useless; even if I do come up with an idea I don’t have any money to spend.”
Ever since Bobby’s father had died three years ago, the family of five struggled. Not because the mother didn’t care or try. There just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital and the small wage she earned only stretched so far.
What the family lacked in material things they made up for in family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister and they ran the house in their mother’s absence. All three of his sisters had already made their mother beautiful Christmas gifts. It just seemed so unfair that here it was Christmas Eve and he had nothing.
Wiping a tear back from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and walked down the street where the shops and stores were. It was not easy being six years old without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to.
As Bobby walked down the street he looked in the beautifully decorated windows. Everything seemed so far out of reach. Bobby reluctantly turned and started to walk home when suddenly his eye caught the glimmer of something shiny in the setting sun. He reached down and found a shiny dime.
Never before has anyone felt as wealthy as Bobby at that moment. As he held his new found treasure, warmth spread throughout his entire body as he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold as each salesperson after salesperson told him he could not buy anything with only a dime.
He saw a flower shop and he went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented him the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother’s Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. He put his hand on Bobby’s shoulder and said wait here let me see what I can do for you.
Bobby looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers.
Bobby was the last customer in the shop and he began to feel afraid and alone. Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There before Bobby were twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby’s heart sank as the owner placed them in a long white box.
The shop owner looked at Bobby and said that will be ten cents young man. Slowly Bobby moved his hand to give the shop owner the dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him anything for a dime. The shop owner sensed his reluctance and said, “I just so happen to have some roses on sale for ten cents. Would you like them?”
This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the shop owner placed the box in Bobby’s hand he knew it was true. As Bobby walked out the door he heard the shop owner say “Merry Christmas.”
As the shop owner returned to the store, his wife asked who he had been talking to and where were the roses he was fixing.
Looking out the window, the shop owner wiped a tear from his eye.
He said,“A strange thing happened to me this morning when I was setting up the shop. I thought I heard a little voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses as a special gift. I was not sure if I had lost my mind or not and set them aside anyway. Then just a minute a go a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy his mother a flower with one small dime.
“When I looked at him, I saw myself so many years ago. I too was a poor little boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man whom I never knew stopped me on the street and said he wanted to give me ten dollars.
“When I saw that little boy tonight I knew who that voice was and I put together a dozen of my finest roses.”
Are you listening?
If you're interested: If you want to contribute to the Annual Pastoral Appeal, please call the church office at 727-821-7989.
Learn more: Read the Diocese of St. Petersburg's Web post about the Annual Pastoral Appeal and the work your contributions support.