This is the time of year when our hearts are opened and we make a token gift to those less fortunate amidst the celebrations, shopping, caroling, decorating the tree and simply having fun. We teach the children in church school that the Nativity wreath is a circle representing God’s endless Love for us not just during the season but also during our whole lifetime. But after the New Year we find it hard to continue to live a spiritual life. We are surrounded with war, disease, crime and death. We have become immune to all the bracelets and ribbons. We close our hearts. The Order of St. Ignatius is not just another cause with a ribbon. At the end of our ribbon is the symbol of what we believe—the cross. Our children often ask parents, usually before they are asking for something, how much do you love me? The parent usually responds with a big outstretched arm “I love you this much” Christ loved us enough to be born and ultimately die so that we could live.
So what are we really asked to sacrifice for the church? The equivalent of a cup of Starbuck’s a day. The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch celebrates 35 years of “touching people’s lives” by distributing over $17 million dollars since its inception. The Order’s goal is to provide a financial foundation for our Church’s future in America and throughout the world. Members of The Order are men and women from all walks of life: secretaries, factory workers, business entrepreneurs, executives, young adults, and grandparents who commit to a lifetime of annual giving.
Members are people like you and me who believe that when we combine our gifts miracles can happen because we can do more collectively than any one individual can do alone. This is what The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch is all about.
Imagine the endless possibilities that can be accomplished when we, as ordinary people, combine our resources and change our gifts into something that is both meaningful and helpful to others who have need. Money is not necessarily the “root of all evil” for money in the right hands can be a tremendous source of good.
- At least 70% (this means $350.00 of a $500.00 annual contribution) is returned to the parishes via contributions to the various departments serving our Archdiocese such as Youth and Campus Ministry, Parish Development, Christian Education, and Summer Camp Scholarships. The Order helps to fund these important aspects of Archdiocese life. Our Archdiocese is self-ruling and growing. The Order will be there to assist with the finances of three new bishops so that the churches are not as heavily burdened.
- Our clergy should retire in dignity. The Order donates $200,000 annually to support our retired clergy and their wives. And as more and more of our clergy retire the need will become greater to provide a decent retirement to those who have served the Church so faithfully.
- The Order funds annual distributions to major projects outside our Archdiocese such as Project Mexico, Prison Ministry, Teen Special Olympics, and Tree House Ministries (program in Wichita sponsored by St. George Cathedral to support unwed mothers who choose life rather than abortion)
- Support of the annual College Conference where our young adults gather for a week of prayer, learning, fellowship, and witness to Christ as Orthodox Christians. It began with 27 students. This year over 300 will participate.
St. Ignatius instructs us to put our faith into action. I want to tell you about a project that exemplifies what the Order is all about. This feast is all about the birth of a child who changes a whole nation and the woman who gave him birth despite what people would think. Can you imagine what would happen today? The Tree House, which gets its name from the live giving tree (cross), got its start from a grant from the Order. So consider giving yourself and others a Christmas gift and make The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch your choice. You will be glad you did. Be an example to our children that the church is a good investment.