Every week, when I review the Sunday collection, I find myself feeling both relieved and concerned.  I’m relieved that, unlike many other parishes, our Sunday collection income has remained steady through the pandemic and beyond.  At the same time, I’m concerned that it hasn’t kept pace with inflation.  According to the US Inflation Calculator, the consumer price inflation rose 21.6% between January 2020 and May 2024.  Just like you in your household or business, we have experienced this increase in so many of our regular expenses.  As a result, the annual budget for our entire parish (including our school) has increased $700,000, from $4,083,000 to $4,783,000 over these past five years.

Meanwhile, our Sunday collection, the lifeblood of our parish, has remained steady in the $850,000 – $900,000 range annually.  As we prepare to begin a new fiscal year, I thank you for your steadfast financial support of your parish.  I also ask you, whether you put an envelope or loose cash into the collection basket or contribute electronically, to review your giving history and the last time you increased your regular contribution.  Please adjust it to reflect the inflation rate so we can continue to pay our parish staff, maintain our parish facilities and support the many parish organizations, initiatives and activities.  Our parish reserves are dwindling and we need your ongoing support.

As you read in my article last week, our parish school also continues to be challenged with raising sufficient funds to meet operating costs and pay for needed capital improvements and repairs.  Our parish and school have a staff of 45 very dedicated, hardworking people, five buildings on 6 acres.  We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding staff and beautiful facilities and grounds.  I’m sure you agree that we want to continue to be a strong, faith filled community and we can do so only with strong support from all of our 7,500 parishioners.

One of my nephews gave me The Book of Catholic Jokes for Christmas.  As I was chuckling my way through the book, I came upon this one that I think fits the moment:  “A pastor got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: ‘I have good news and bad news.  The good news is we have enough money to pay our bills.  The bad news is it’s still out there in your pockets.’”  Please review your current support and help us keep up with the ever-increasing cost of keeping our parish and school strong and vibrant.