Dear Friends in Christ:
With June 30, the parish ended the fiscal year. We are still in the process of closing out the books for the month, the quarter and the year. Final numbers should be in shortly. As in the past, we will give financial figures and other data in our Annual Report to the parish in the Fall. This report will be posted on the website for all interested parishioners. The good news is that we are in the black financially. This was not a given. As I have informed the parish previously, we are still greatly affected by the energy industry’s downturn and the floods following Hurricane Harvey. In response to those events, we had to slash our budget by 30%, which included a reduction in staff. We continue to hold spending, and the budget and income remain below what they were a few years ago. We were not able to give our staff any raises last year even though their work load increased and their budgets were cut. For this new fiscal year (2019-2020), there was a very small increase given to the staff in appreciation and recognition of their hard work and great contributions to our parish.
Financial stewardship is not the most important thing that we do as a parish, but it is important nonetheless. This is true for the parish and it is true for us as individuals and families. How we use our money reflects what we think is important, what our values are, what our priorities are, how we plan for the future, and what we believe. How we use our financial resources is very telling and revealing. Years ago I heard someone say, “Everyone writes an autobiography – it’s their check book!” It tells where we go, what we eat, what we do for fun, how we live, the state of our health, and even who we love. Today, with technology, checkbooks are not as revealing. But we can still see the information on our credit card bills or bank statements. I encourage you to take a little time to first sit down and reflect on what are the important things that you value in your life. Write them down on a list and prioritize them. After that, go get your check book, credit card bills, bank statement or other financial documents and examine them side by side. Do your financial records of how you spend your money reflect your values and priorities? If they don’t consider what adjustments and changes to your spending or your living need to be made. Responsible stewardship of our material possessions is part and parcel of our Christian discipleship. To be a faithful servant of Jesus, to be a faithful Catholic, means that we use our gifts, including our money, in a prudent and responsible manner. Did you know that it is a sin to waste money or food or other gifts that we have been given? Did you realize that it is sinful to be so irresponsible with our money, that we do not pay our bills, or to buy things that we cannot afford? Likewise, being selfish, greedy and spending our money only on ourselves and failing to be charitable is not being a faithful disciple. For us as Christians, when it comes to money, the goal is not simply that we do well financially, it is also that we do good with the money we are blessed to have, no matter how little or how much we might have.
As a parish, we live by this as well. In addition to paying our bills around here, did you know that our parish supports 30 different organizations with grants each year? When our income declined so dramatically after the floods, we continued to support others in their need. We support other parishes, Catholic schools and charities. This is in addition to the tremendous work of helping thousands throughout the year through our parish Social Service Ministries. Two years after Harvey, we continue to assist families who are still suffering from the floods. We are indeed blessed to serve others and share our blessings. Will you look at your finances? How has God blessed you?
As always, I thank God for all of His blessings and especially for the blessings of each of you!
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately