Rosy and David Lombardi, the organizers and coordinators of the marriage preparation program at Maria Ausiliatrice Mission, pour wine into a cup as part of a demonstration exercise of God’s plan of abundance for all. Photo by Imma Ieraci

Faith, finance and the bottom line

  • May 18, 2024

Canadian Catholic journalist Laura Ieraci is a bit of a “Jill of all trades” and when she is not editing, writing or shooting a film, she is coaching people to bring their faith and their finances into alignment.

Ieraci has brought all those passions — ministry, educational psychology, media, finances — under one umbrella in a newly established enterprise, AVIVA Ministries and Coaching.

“I’ve always really straddled both ministry and journalism for most of my life,” Ieraci told The Catholic Register

Ieraci is a qualified financial coach who received her training in “Ramsey Solutions,” the well-known “baby-steps” method promoted by U.S. radio personality and author Dave Ramsey. But Ieraci has taken the biblically based precepts of the evangelical Ramsey and placed them in a Catholic framework. The result is a methodology of personal finance that focuses on a different kind of bottom line.

“It’s not a numbers question, it’s a values question. It’s a question of the disposition of our heart. It’s about our relationship with money,” said Ieraci.

On May 4, Ieraci had the opportunity to return to her childhood parish in the east end of Montreal to run a workshop entitled “Marriage & Money.” It is a workshop she has offered in both the U.S., where she now lives with her husband Rev. Andrew Summerson, a priest of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, and in Canada.

Ieraci guided the 15 couples who signed up for the course at Maria Ausiliatrice Mission to begin to think about their money as an important tool in living out their baptismal calling. 

“As Christians, we can’t be indifferent about our finances. It’s the way by which we live in the world. It affects everything. We work, we earn money, and with this money, we fulfill our obligations and our responsibilities towards our family, our faith communities, our society. If we’re indifferent towards it, if we’re not paying attention to it, then we’re not necessarily utilizing this blessing, these resources God is giving us.”

Ieraci says that she is not teaching a “prosperity gospel.” 

“It’s not ‘Lordy, Lordy, give me some.’ It’s not praying for the Lord to give us more money,” she said. 

Rather, it is about a Catholic approach to finances that allows room to put into practice the social teaching of the Church.

Ieraci says that “debt is drowning a lot of Catholic families” and as a result they cannot truly live the Catholic principles of the preferential option for the poor and care for creation. 

“We could be incorporating these principles once we get our debt under control. We could be funding initiatives that promote Catholic social teaching, social justice, if you want to call it that. I keep telling people, my money isn’t just about me, my money has significant impact on the people around me.”

Rosy Lombardi and her husband David run the marriage preparation course at Maria Ausiliatrice and both helped to organize and participated in the May 4 workshop. 

Lombardi told the Register that they hosted couples from all over the island of Montreal and at all different stages of life, including an engaged couple, some newlyweds and a few couples married for more than two decades.

“It was a very positive response in general, and everybody I spoke to found it amazing,” said Lombardi.

Lombardi said both she and her husband found the workshop helpful.

“I’ve heard of tithing, but I never thought about it in the way that Laura presented it. For me, I think that was one of the highlights of the day. After all the psychology and the information, it is about how you live it out. At the end of the day, it’s about faith, not about numbers or money,” said Lombardi. 

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