SPARC: Keeping its strength 15 years later

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10 It was in 2003 that the Stewardship Program of the Archdiocese of Caceres (SPARC) was launched. The late Archbishop of Caceres, Most Rev. Leonardo Legaspi, OPD, envisioned it to be a self-sufficiency program for the Parishes in the Archdiocese. However, SPARC is more than just that - a means to an end. Rather, it is a certain spirituality and a specific way of life, a culture of sharing and a habit of giving thanks. The Program is built on the fundamental principle that we are all responsible before God. Created in His own image and likeness, we are stewards of His creation - His people, the animals around us and our environment as well. SPARC enhances our awareness of these responsibilities and allows us to grow in our identity as stewards, promoting one’s spiritual growth and strengthening one’s faith in the Lord. In addition, SPARC has on these 4 gifts as its pillars: life, talent, time, and treasure. These four gifts are shared through the Program, cultivating parish and community life. However, for SPARC to succeed as a program, participants must first acknowledge that everything they have is, indeed, a gift from God; and through faith and their love of God, they become willing to offer back to Him a portion of these gifts with which they have been so generously blessed with. In 2017, current Archbishop of Caceres, Most Rev. Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD, appointed Fr. Felix Abaño, Jr., Parish Priest of the Holy Cross Parish in Naga City, as the new Archdiocesan Stewardship Program Director, succeeding Fr. Rex Andrew Alarcon. Last March 6, the core group and leaders of SPARC from the Parishes of the Holy Cross and St. Jude Thaddeus, both in Naga City, revisited the SPARC Manual and underwent an Organizational Orientation. Alarcon facilitated the workshop and imparted helpful tips on how to have a good rapport with the incoming members of the Program. In addition, he explained in detail how members will share their gifts in the Parish. “It is not only the giving of money that matters,” exhorted Alarcon, “but more importantly, how we give thanks to God for all the goodness He has shown and given us.”