Congratulations to SS. Isidore and Maria Parishioner Alexandra Goodin for placing first in the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal Tuition Grant Essay Contest.  Alexandra is a senior at East Catholic High School whose essay, The Reciprocation of Giving, is about the spirit of giving. She recently told the Catholic Transcript that her piece stemmed from her experience volunteering in Guatemala. “To me, it embodied stewardship so perfectly. Just the idea of giving a little bit to someone less fortunate than you. I thought it was going to be about giving of myself but I received so much in terms of patience and understanding, and a new perspective on the world and the desire to help others. I thought it was really powerful. So I wanted to communicate that in my essay.”

The Reciprocation of Giving

by Alexandra Goodin

From its beginning, Catholicism has been based largely on giving to others. Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to save us from our sins. He also gave us the opportunity to do for others a fraction of what He did and continues to do for us. The theme and inspiration for the 2020 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is “Growing in Faith, Giving in Love.” Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” As Catholics, if we want to grow closer to God, we can pray and study the Bible all we want, but we will never truly feel connected to God until we do what He does everyday: give selflessly. Therefore, it is important for me and all Catholics across the Archdiocese to support the Appeal in order to advance Jesus’s work as well as our own faith.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, stewardship is “…the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” However, to me, stewardship has a slightly different meaning. In July of 2019, I went to Guatemala with an organization called Global Leadership Adventures to paint a school and teach English to children in an impoverished community. Many of these children lacked access to what we as Americans consider basic amenities, and yet they were still so happy and compassionate. I may have picked up a paintbrush and shared a few English words, but what these children gave me was so much more valuable. During this incredible experience, I learned my own personal definition of stewardship. For me, it is defined perfectly by Scripture, “Give and gifts will be given to you” (Luke 6:38), and by the 2020 theme for the Appeal: “Growing in Faith, Giving in Love.” My small act of stewardship to these Guatemalan children grew my faith in ways I could have never imagined. It made me discover my dream of becoming a child psychologist so that I can give in love to children who are struggling. Stewardship is not just about what you give, but also how you use what you receive in return.

Per the Archdiocese of Hartford’s website, the funds from the Appeal are given to many notable causes, including Catholic education grants, Catholic education and faith formation, and Catholic charities and works of ministry. As someone who attends Catholic school, this appeal impacts me and my peers quite directly. I switched to a Catholic high school after nine years of public school, and it wasn’t until I got to my high school that I felt I could speak freely about my Catholic identity. Jesus once said, “…what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45). Therefore, it is vital to give in love so that we can grow in faith through the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. We must all support the Appeal in order to practice stewardship and help our entire community, including ourselves, to grow in faith.