Dear Friends in Christ:
We are in the midst of finalizing the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2019-2020. As we look ahead, it is a mixed story. We have many blessings and we have some real challenges. As those parishioners who were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey can attest, the effects of the floods are long-lasting. Approximately 20% of our parishioners lost their homes or had their homes damaged by the flood waters. This continues to impact the parish as well. We had hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses and to date have not received a cent from insurance. More so, with so many families impacted, that has taken a toll on our ministries and finances. Due to our reduced income, staff was reduced and the budget was cut 30%. Since then, we had to add a few positions back because of absolute need, but we have not seen a recovery in our income. We are essentially where we were in the months after the flood. In the aftermath of the floods, mass attendance and participation in our ministries and programs dropped dramatically. We have seen a modest, though not complete, recovery in attendance and participation in some areas. The picture remains uneven.
We will be compiling complete numbers in the months to come and report them to you. This is the time when it simply boils down to hard work. The time of crisis has passed and we are in the long and un-glamorous journey of re-building. We need to build back our levels of engagement and outreach. We have to build our financial stewardship back up. We need to renew our focus on our parish’s vision and mission. We have to build back up our excitement and commitment of Living Faith, Changing Lives and Making a Difference.
Three areas to which I would like to draw your attention and ask for your consideration of action are: Youth Formation. We want to increase the levels of participation of our families in the faith formation of our children. That means making certain that all of our children are receiving a Catholic formation either in a Catholic School or in our parish programs. No child should be denied this gift. Quite frankly, every baptized child has a right to this and every parent has a solemn and sacred responsibility and obligation to provide this. Every child from K-12 should be involved in Youth Formation, a Catholic school or in a Catholic home school program. Parish Ministry. We have 15,000 registered members in our parish, yet we do not have enough parishioners serving in all of our ministries. We need new and additional, willing servant disciples. Every Mass should have enough Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to serve the Precious Blood, but we don’t. Every Mass should have a sufficient number of ushers and greeters, but we don’t. We should have plenty of parents willing to serve in our youth ministry for our Jr. High and High School teens to guide and witness the faith to them, but we don’t. The solution begins by coming to Mass every week and then look to becoming involved in at least one other aspect of parish life. It is rewarding and meaningful and often enjoyable and fun to get involved and be part of the ministry of the parish. Imagine hundreds of kids excited about their faith, having fun and staying Catholic their whole lives. Think of the many people who could be served and their lives changed with more parishioners willing to serve the homebound, the sick, the struggling, the grieving, the imprisoned, and the poor. Financial Stewardship. To date, only 10% of the parishioners have responded to the Diocesan Services Fund appeal. 90% of the parishioners have not responded or their response was “NO.” Only 19% of our parishioners give at least $25 per week ($1300 annually) in financial support of the parish in the Sunday collection. Think of all that our parish could do if we had 40% of our parishioners giving $25 per week! Now imagine what we could do if 60% of our parish gave that amount. Now imagine what we could do if we tithed! It would be amazing!
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately