Dear Friends in Christ,
At the end of June, we ended our fiscal year. Much of July was spent closing out the financial and sacramental books, completing reports, and preparing for the new fiscal year. Needless to say, it has been a busy summer and we are looking forward to a wonderful “school year”. This bears repeating; parishes do not run on one single calendar but according to several different calendars: the liturgical calendar (Advent to Christ the King (four Sundays before Christmas – five Sundays before Christmas), the fiscal calendar (July 1 – June 30), the school year calendar (September – May), and the “calendar” calendar (Jan 1 – Dec 31). It can all be a bit confusing. As is our practice, we will soon publish the Annual Report for the parish on our website. The
Annual Report reviews the activities of the parish during the last fiscal year. This includes sacraments celebrated, ministry highlights, and finances.
Here is a sneak preview. Our sacramental numbers are relatively steady from the previous year. There was a significant decline during Covid (2020 – 2021), but we have gradually recovered. In most areas, though not all, we are at or near pre-Covid levels in the number of parishioners receiving sacraments. Our Sunday Mass attendance has improved steadily over the past two years. It is important to note however, that our parish has yet to fully recover to the levels prior to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We are also, sadly, impacted by societal changes, fewer marriages and births, and a general decline in religious affiliation and participation. This is reflected in the number of weddings, baptisms, and the overall number of registered households.
Financially, we continue to be blessed to be able to pay all our bills and assist those in need (individuals, families, and other parishes). During Covid we experienced a sharp decline in the number of donors. Unlike our sacramental numbers, these have not recovered as quickly. The number of regular contributors to St. John Vianney remains down by 20% from the number of contributors in January 2020. As you can imagine, an entity like St. John Vianney takes a lot of money to keep going; our annual budget is $7 million. This requires a serious and faithful commitment to financial stewardship from all our parishioners.
The high inflation of the last two years has also impacted our parish finances. Like everyone we are paying more for everything. Among the major increases have been health insurance for our employees and our financial obligations to the archdiocese. These costs have increased greatly. The archdiocese re-structured Cathedraticum (the taxes all parishes pay to support the administration of the archdiocese – this is not to be confused with DSF which is a mandatory assessment funded directly by parishioners to support the pastoral works of the archdiocese). Our Cathedraticum tax increased dramatically. In the restructured formula, parishes must now pay taxes to the Chancery on things not previously taxed. Obviously, we cannot control these costs. In areas where we can control expenses, we do. We have held off filling some open staff positions, we are holding tight in our budgeting and spending, and we are taking measures to ensure that our campus facilities are well maintained and in good operating condition. Keeping our facilities in good condition helps us avoid costly repairs. Our mantra is that it is less expensive to keep things in good working order than to pay to replace them. This past year, we have done major work on the HVAC system, the parking lots; painted and recarpeted classrooms and offices, and much more. We typically spend between $1.5 – 2 million on maintaining our physical plant and facilities and, yet we know that in the future we will have to replace buildings as they are nearing the end of their usable lives.
This summer we also had a financial audit performed by Chancery. I am most pleased to report that the audit showed that things are in good order. This is thanks to Belinda LeBouef, our Finance Director. She and her team have done an exceptional job. Alas, however, Belinda will be retiring this month. She has been a wonderful asset to our parish. Her dedication, knowledge, wonderful demeanor, and beautiful faith have been a gift and a blessing. We wish her and her husband, Kenneth, only the best!
In Pace Christi,