I hate talking about money. I always have. I make no bones about it. I would love to concentrate solely on the spiritual well-being of this parish. Fat chance! Like all of you I also have to pay bills and I am responsible, with others, for the operation and upkeep of our church, rectory, convent and regional school.
While observing trends during this first year of my pastorate, one thing I noted was the weekly amount I am told is necessary to operate the parish. Sometimes we achieve this goal or occasionally surpass it. Sometimes we are under the necessary amount, and at other times we have encountered some significant problems. (For instance, a major difficulty occurred during a weekend last fall when the area was evacuated because of a potential hurricane.)
Falling short just $1000.00 for just 10 weeks during the year leaves us in the hole for $10,000.00. This is no small amount. Add to this two holy days this past year that fell on Sundays (Christmas and New Year’s—the Solemnity of Mary) in which there were no additional Sunday Masses or collections. Moreover, we had a really bad weekend because of a potential hurricane. Total all this up and we can unfortunately be behind a considerable sum of money by the end of the fiscal year.
It is also important to note that we have had a struggling economy for some time now and weekly Mass attendance is less than 25% of the registered parish population throughout the diocese.
I have brought the issue to the financial council who in turn brought it to the pastoral council. Discussion and suggestions abounded. What do we do? The long range goal is certainly to have more parishioners at Mass each week (evangelization) and to have more parishioners contributing regularly to the parish (tithing or stewardship).
The finance council decided that a second collection be taken up weekly to defray costs such as heating and air conditioning expenses, repairs of buildings, maintenance of grounds, etc.
Unfortunately, all of the promises of “when I hit the lottery” have never amounted to much so far! In the end, we are still left with bills to pay and a considerably-sized parish to operate with no lottery money.
I make you aware of the current financial situation and its various trends since this is our parish—not just mine. I love being here and helping in whatever way I can. In the end, however, we need to grow as a parish and we require your financial support.
Unfortunately, bills are never paid by good intentions (or by potentially winning lottery tickets, for that matter!)
Fr. Ed Namiotka