Dear friends in Christ:
What a fantastic bazaar! Thank you to our more than 1500 volunteers, our generous underwriters and sponsors, our wonderful and dedicated staff and especially to Richard Fairly, the Bazaar Committee and the Parish Life Staff. What a great job! During these economically challenging times for the energy industry, which directly affects so many of our parishioners, we are grateful that so many continue to be so supportive of our efforts which aid so many people outside our parish who are less fortunate. There is not a week that goes by that I do not receive numerous requests for financial assistance from parishes, organizations and others seeking help. I only wish we had the ability to help everyone. Happily, we have been able to increase our charity work and grants over the last several years, even during economically challenging periods. We have more than doubled the number of recipients of our parish grants and increased the amount of our annual grants by ten times. We have also increased by multiple of more than ten times the amount given annually in sustaining grants to our sister parishes and area Catholic schools. The funding for these grants comes in part from the bazaar proceeds, but most of the funds come from our ordinary weekly stewardship.
There are many people throughout the Houston area whose lives are changed and made better because of our faithful discipleship and stewardship. We are indeed blessed by the Lord to be able to respond and to serve others.
Periodically, people ask about our parish finances. On our website, we have an Annual Report that includes a financial report on our income and expenses as well as other aspects on the status and health of our parish. By canon law (the universal law of the Catholic Church), the pastor is charged with the responsibility of prudently and faithfully managing the financial affairs of the parish. No pastor does this alone. By canon law and by archdiocesan policy, every pastor is to have a Finance Council to aid and guide the pastor in financial affairs. Further, here in the archdiocese, our financial records and activity are reviewed by the Chancery to ensure compliance with all laws, proper practices and policies. As pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, I am ably assisted by our Finance Department and Business Manager who assist in the budgeting, handling of all funds, record keeping, purchasing and accounts payable. As pastor, I, along with our Business Manager, Pete Prados and Finance Director, Belinda LeBeouf, make detailed quarterly reports to the parish Finance Council. There are also monthly summary reports to the Pastoral Council. Prior to any decisions concerning major expenditures both parochial councils are consulted. I am grateful to our dedicated and hardworking staff and to the Finance and Pastoral Councils for their wise counsel and sound advice. They all serve our parish well with their talent and expertise.
For specific details, you may refer to the Annual Report, but basically here is where we are at: We are doing fine, but we have been affected by the downturn in the energy industry and local economy. We have also seen a slight decrease in Sunday attendance due to construction, which has also affected our income. Our total income for the last year was down by about $400,000 (6.8%) from the previous year. By very carefully watching our spending and keeping some budgeted staff positions unfilled for the year, our expenditures were able to remain in budget and we were able to end the fiscal year (FY 15-16) without encountering a deficit. The Capital Campaign redemptions are on schedule and the construction project is within budget. As the construction bills come faster than the redemption payments of the capital campaign, a $5 MM bridge loan was secured. The loan is scheduled to be repaid within the term of the redemption period of the campaign. We do not anticipate any long term debt on the construction project. We have reached our DSF goal in pledges, but not payments though the pledged amount is less than the previous year. Checking with most other parishes in our area, our financial situation is actually better than most. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our parish and for Living Faith, Changing Lives and Making a Difference!
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately