Every now and then I pause for a moment to reflect on how things are changing rapidly today. It is hard to believe we are almost 15 years into the 21st Century. Although I was very young and my memory quite faded, I recall the World’s Fair that took place in New York in the mid-1960s. It was a time when life was simpler and certain technological advancements were just beginning. One of the greatest charms of the fair that stirred the imagination were the exhibitions of “futuristic” technologies for communication and transportation, technologies that by today’s standard would seem primitive. I remember even as a little child how most did not believe such advances would happen in their lifetime.
However, this little stroll down memory lane helps me to keep in perspective just how much things have changed within my own lifetime. It is only a half-century and, in that relatively short period of time, the way we communicate, do business, and interact with one another has radically changed. It is interesting to note that those under 40 years old have always seen the world through television and those under 25 years old would be lost without the Internet. As a case in point, the ubiquitous presence of computers and smartphones indicates our growing dependence on these devices. The world has indeed become much smaller and everything we do happens much quicker.
Among the many changes these technological advances have brought is the way we handle our finances. With increasing regularity, we buy products, pay for things at stores, and do our personal accounting using the technologies that have developed. In this regard, 2013 was the first year in which online shopping surpassed traditional shopping in physical stores, and that trend has continued into this year. During that same period more than half the bills paid were done over the Internet. The newest smartphone designs even have embedded technology that allows us to pay for something at a store checkout by holding the phone close to the reader. In addition to making payments via digital methods, more than 60% of the workforce is now paid using direct deposit. Within the next few years, printed checks will be obsolete and the need to use cash will decrease.
With this rapid change in the way we handle our finances, our parish must be ready to accommodate these technologies. Shortly after I arrived, we added the capability of taking credit cards in the parish office. This year we expanded that service so that we can take credit cards at the Family Festival and other parish events via wireless technology. In addition to taking credit cards as payment for services, we contracted with a company that allows you to make your regular gift to the parish via a direct charge to a credit card or bank transfer from your checking account. In fact, if you were to logon at www.mobile.e-giving.org on your smartphone while sitting in the pew, you could make your donation right now.
Thus, for those who have not yet had the chance to do so, I encourage you to consider making your regular gift to the parish by creating an account at www.e-giving.org/churchofblessedsacrament and following the instructions on the screen. All of the transactions meet the highest levels of Internet security. By supporting the parish through e-giving, you no longer have to worry about where you left your check book or if you have enough cash on hand. In addition, you have complete flexibility as to how much, how often, and when a gift is made. You can login regularly to authorize a gift or simply schedule regular charges to your credit card or deductions from your checking account. If you are unsure or have questions, feel free to contact the parish office for assistance. We would be happy to sit with you at one of our computers, and help you set up your account. In this regard, even the Church has to deal with living in the 21st Century.