Thank you for your Support!
Dear Friends in Christ,
In addition to everything else, this past year has been a roller coaster ride for our parish financially. Beginning in March, our parish saw a catastrophic drop in income with the onset of the CVOID-19 crisis. The number of parish households financially supporting the parish decreased by more than 50%. While it has improved over the last 12 months, we have yet to recover.
At the onset of the pandemic and with the closure of the parish last March, emergency measures were set in place and immediately implemented. At that time, all of our part-time and seasonal staff were furloughed. This included our teachers and staff in the Young Children’s Program, Nursery Caregivers, sextons and others. An immediate spending freeze was implemented, all non-essential expenditures were eliminated or suspended and we re-structured and re-scheduled payments and obligations where we could. Funds were transferred from our savings to cover the shortfall. Our desire was three-fold: avoid debt and deficit spending if possible, keep our full-time employees receiving their salaries and bring back our part-time staff as soon as possible. Emergency plans were made for salary reductions across the board and for a prioritized reduction of full-time staff.
These actions led to a dramatic reduction in spending, thus enabling us to keep full-time staff employed and serving our parishioners. The budget was further aided by the retirements and resignation of several employees during the last year. Most of the vacancies were left unfilled. Currently, we have seven open positions. While this helps the budget, it has also made a heavier workload on our staff and has impacted our effectiveness.
Last spring and again in the summer, a decision was made by me that St. John Vianney Parish would not participate in the PPP (Payroll Protection Plan) program which was part of the CARES Act of the federal government. While many churches and charities along with many business did participate and SJV would have certainly qualified and very likely would have received the monies, I believed that it would be better not to apply for the funds and allow for those who needed the funds more than we did to have access to them. Some have questioned that decision and that is fine. Some have asked what difference it makes when so many were receiving so much money. Others have asked what the big deal was as it is “government money.” The difference is this, everyone should be responsible, especially in times of crisis. We should all do our part and remember that there is no free lunch. How can we ask others to sacrifice if we were not willing to do the same? The PPP funds meant a huge difference for many businesses and charities in ensuring that their employees kept their jobs and the business stayed afloat. I was confident that with our measures and the generosity of our parishioners, we would make it without government assistance.
During the pandemic, I have been hesitant to come to you to ask for financial support. I have done so only sparingly and I am so grateful for all who have so generously responded. I know that there are many in our parish community who are suffering personal financial setbacks and cannot support the parish as they once did. Please be assured of our prayers for you. During this time, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of contributors. As fewer people are in attendance at Mass, which we hope and pray will not be too much longer, envelope usage has declined in the Sunday collection. In January 2020, we had 1281 households using envelopes on Sunday. In March, the number was zero as there were no Masses. In June, we received 41 and in December, 461 offertory envelopes were collected at Mass. However, we have seen a shift in the manner in how people are making their stewardship offering. Happily, many parishioners began using electronic giving or making their support through the mail. Yet our total number of contributing households remains 30% lower than before COVID-19.
The reality is that like almost every other church in the country, we have been impacted financially because of the pandemic. Thanks and praise be to God, while things continue to be rocky, up one week and down the next, our financial position is blessed. We are paying all of our bills – reduced though they are, we have brought back most of our furloughed employees and we have kept all of our full time staff employed although there are fewer of them. I am now asking for your support for our parish and our archdiocese. Your financial support of our parish through your regular offertory (electronic/automatic, envelopes or via mail) and our Archdiocese through DSF are essential.
Thank you to all who have so generously and faithfully supported our parish financially. Without you and your generosity, we simply could not do any of the things we do here at this parish.
In pace Christi,