Finance and faith: Stewardship, Ethical Investment, and Education for Mission

Finance and faith: Stewardship, Ethical Investment, and Education for Mission

Finance and faith: Stewardship, Ethical Investment, and Education for Mission

Finance and faith: Stewardship, Ethical Investment, and Education for Mission

Finance and faith: Stewardship, Ethical Investment, and Education for Mission

Finance and faith: Stewardship, Ethical Investment, and Education for Mission

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By Massimiliano Viatore, Accountant Finance Controller, Administration and Finance Office

The idea of stewardship is central to the Church’s approach to finance. The Vatican guidelines ‘Economy at the Service of Charism and Mission’ offer valuable insights into how we – as a congregation of the Church – can manage our finances effectively while staying true to our values.

The document discusses how “the goods and the works are entrusted to us as a gift of a providential God for accomplishing the mission”. This obliges us to carefully manage the Congregation’s money in a way that is responsible, transparent, and accountable to ensure that funds are used ethically and to support the mission.

In light of this, at our 31st Congregational Chapter, we courageously and wholeheartedly made a commitment to six Calls to Action – one of which was on Finance Resources. In this, we pledged to “ensure equitable sharing of resources as an important component of a universal culture of justice and good stewardship of resources for sustainability of mission”.

Our Call to Action is in perfect harmony with the guidelines of the Church. It seeks to translate into practice the steps necessary to improve and align the economic, financial, and patrimonial management of the Congregation at all levels (local, provincial, regional, and congregational).

Vatican guidelines also encourage congregations to “invest in ways that promote social justice, environmental sustainability, and the common good”. This form of ethical investment means choosing investments that not only provide financial returns but also benefit society – showing that it’s possible to be both profitable and principled.

To be able to handle financial challenges and make smart financial decisions that align with our mission and ensure its stability, it is essential that those who manage the financial resources of the Congregation have access to ongoing education in finance.

This is how finance and faith can work together to enhance our mission. By focusing on stewardship, ethical investment, and financial education, we can manage our resources in a way that supports our mission and spiritual goals.

To best achieve this, the Administration and Finance Office began to plan formation activities to provide essential tools to identify the Congregation’s Stable Patrimony* and to respond to the training needs of those who manage our financial resources at the Unit level.

To provide capacity building in this area, we hosted our first training sessions in the Philippines last year for unit leaders and council members, treasurers, and sisters and/or partners in mission in Unit management positions from across the Asia-Pacific Units. This month, we provided similar training in Colombia for the Latin American Units.

Although often complicated from an administrative point of view, these sessions have offered us a unique insight into the different perspectives and lived realities of these regions – each with a distinct and indescribable determination to forge ahead with the changes necessary to keep alive the mission of the Congregation at all costs.

As a training team, we were surprised and amazed by the energy of all participants (province leaders, province treasures, and partners-in-mission) who showed an incredible ability to assimilate information and put it into concrete practice.

This is not an easy undertaking but it is one that gives us hope. In today’s changing climate, we are facing major challenges and this evolving journey has a long road ahead. With zeal we look ahead to further planned training sessions around the Congregation.

* This consists of all the movable and immovable assets, property, or furnishings of the Congregation that are essential to maintaining our life and mission.

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