From the Desk of Father Tharp
Next Week Sunday Morning Masses August 11, 2019 Celebrant: Fr. Schmitz
Fiscal Year End Numbers reveal a Concerning Trend
When your doctor calls to say he or she has seen something on your scan and would like you to come in for an evaluation, it is natural to worry. You say to yourself, “Everything is probably going to be fine if I correct my diet and exercise more, but I am still a little worried and frightened.” I report to you today that having seen the year end numbers for fiscal year 2018-2019, I am more than a little worried and concerned about the future financial health of our parish and school. It may not be time to panic, but we will have to “tighten our belts” and apply corrective actions to the trends we see in the numbers. Our total expenses for St. Ann Parish and School this past year were a little more than 1.4 million. Our Sunday Mass collections were down even more than projected, school tuition billing versus receipts were significantly off, salary and benefits costs were up, and rebates from One Faith, One Hope, One Love are significantly diminished. Thus, even though we only had a small deficit ($11,891.02 unaudited) for the most recent fiscal year, with diminishing Sunday collections, expanding unpaid tuition, and declining fundraising revenues, we project the current year is likely to end (unless we take action now) in a minimum of eighty thousand dollars in the red. This would be unsustainable for any parish long term, but especially for a small urban parish with a school.
As I say, I do not think it is time to panic, but we definitely have to get serious. We can fall back on retained surpluses from the past two years for a time. I will be discussing this at upcoming Finance Committee and Parish Council Meetings. I will give you much more in depth detail in the Stewardship Sunday report, but for now please encourage people to come to Sunday Mass at St. Ann and participate regularly by making donations in the Sunday collections. (Remember that a St. Ann envelope dropped in the collection at Sacred Heart still comes to St. Ann; as St. Ann and Sacred Heart practice envelope reciprocity.) Also encourage enrollment in our school. We have a beautiful church and school, and a wonderful family tradition at St. Ann. At this point, we must tighten our belts and dig a little deeper if we hope to continue.
St. Ann and Sacred Heart Festivals
St. Ann had great weather for the festival last weekend. I offer my sincere thanks to Joe Keller, Barb and Chris Fackey and all the volunteers who made it a success. The gross deposits were less than last year, but we won’t know the net (the amount that goes into the parish coffers) for a few weeks.
Sacred Heart Festival is Friday thru Sunday, August 9, 10, & 11. Special thanks to the volunteers who have signed up. If you have not signed up to volunteer as yet, there is still time to offer. As a Pastoral Region let us continue to support each other’s festivals.
Cooperative Mission Appeal
This year’s cooperative Mission Appeal will take place at all precept Masses this weekend. Missionary preachers will provide the homily at the precept Masses in both St. Ann and Sacred Heart.
I hate to keep printing this warning, but criminals are thinking of new ways each day to steal your money while they act like they represent the church. Please be suspicious of any person, solicitation, or communication that purports to be from the Catholic Church in general or your parish. Being charitable is a virtuous act, but being skeptical is a necessary precaution in today’s environment.
Reflection on Scripture
For years, nationally known economic experts have attached their names or descriptive analogies to a particular financial model usually within a recognized system. In today’s gospel, Jesus explains his divine perspective on the use of wealth and personal possessions. Essentially Jesus says, “Consume what you and your family need for sustenance, give to the poor generously of your surplus, and avoid greed. Own what you need, but do not let any possession “own you!” Then he reminds all by use of a parable, that there are “no pockets in a shroud.”
In the first reading, Qoheleth seems pessimistic when he says, “Vanity of vanities; all things are vanity.” But Qoheleth is not being pessimistic! He is being realistic. Time changes everything, one moment after another.
In Colossians, St. Paul says, “Live for Heaven!” If you are consumed by Christ, and your hearts are set on Christ, use what you need as a pilgrim, but realize your home is in Heaven with the Lord.
As a child, my nephew saved icicles on a wintery day by placing them in his pockets for safe keeping. He ended up with wet pockets, and the disappointment that what he thought he possessed had melted away and was gone. To me as an adult, his actions seemed silly. When we act in greed with fickle wealth, God must view us in the same way.
Next Weekend: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
Theme: Be prepared. Your reservations in Heaven are confirmed by Christ.