Financial Stewardship

Last week, I published a copy of our annual report. It included an End-of-Fiscal-Year (7/1/14-6/30/15) Profit & Loss report of actual income and expenses and the Budget for this current Fiscal Year (7/1/15-6/30/16). Additional copies are available on the pamphlet rack in the vestibule if you forgot to pick up a bulletin last week.

As you could see, it is a very close budget. The Finance Council was very conservative when working on it, both in the anticipated income and the expenses.

In a perfect world, our weekly offering (Plate, Envelope & On-Line Giving) would cover our Ordinary Expenses. We fall short by about $1,800 per week. This is currently made up in part by the monthly Parish Advancement collection. Even with that added in, we are $750 short/week.

I understand (intellectually and personally) that it is difficult to give more than you are currently budgeted to give. But if you came to God and said you had a special request, would you expect Him to say that he had only budgeted to help you twice this year and this would now make three times you’d asked for help?

The God in whom we place our hope and trust is loving, merciful, and above all, generous. Giving to your parish helps support the mission of the church and ultimately better prepare you for your eternal life

So, back to the budget. Of course, our biggest expense is the cost of employees. We have six full time and six part time staff. We also pay professional musicians at most of our liturgies. All benefits are dictated by the Diocese.

The next largest expense category is the Diocesan tax. This is 13-1/2% of our prior year’s income that is paid to the Diocese on a monthly basis to help with their operating expenses. We do not get to choose whether or not to pay or how much. To clarify, the monthly Diocesan tax that is collected from all parishes helps cover the cost of the Diocesan operating budget. The Annual Catholic Appeal is used for program costs.

Our Religious Education programs are reflected on the last two lines of the budget because they are “Extraordinary Income”. The budget for Religious Education personnel is reflected in Salaries, but the program costs (books, materials, retreat days) is paid through donations and tuition

But it’s not all about money. The Religious Ed program would gladly accept help with sewing Angel costumes for the Christmas play. Also needed is a team willing to help set up for CCD on Sunday mornings and special occasions. We’re also looking for a techie to help with Power Points, sound, and videos a few times a year.

As in years past, I would like to invite you to sponsor (in all or in part) the cost of Ministry and Program supplies for Mass (missalettes, wine, hosts). Last year we spent $2,120 for altar wine, $2,200 for hosts, and $2,865 to have missalettes and music hymnals in the pews. We don’t anticipate an increase.

Additionally, we would welcome any donations to the Music Ministry. Besides the cost of musicians, we also periodically need to purchase new equipment, music licenses, or music for special occasions.

Stewardship operates solely on Restricted Donations rather than as a budget item. We most recently are funding seven parishioners to attend the International Catholic Stewardship Conference to better serve the parish. We also provide parish-wide distribution of books and other materials that will help on your Faith Journey.

This is your parish and it is your responsibility to help it thrive. Please take this to prayer.

Give God Some Control

I just spent 15 days on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. We put 3,000 miles on the motorhome and saw things that we never expected to see.

While I was getting ready for my trip, people asked me where I was going. My answer was always that we hoped to see the Columbia River (the border between Oregon and Washington). What routes we would take, what stops we would make, where we would spend the nights was all to be serendipitous.

Along the way, we saw humpback whales in the bay at Avila Beach (just north of Pismo Beach on the 101), bungee jumpers on the Crooked River Bridge (just south of Bend, Oregon), wind surfers on the Columbia River in Cascade Locks, a herd of elk in the California Redwoods. We also saw the harvesting of eels to be airlifted to Korea in Newport, Oregon and a bed & breakfast inn consisting of old railroad cabooses in Clear Lake, CA, .

We didn’t intend or expect to be in any of those places.

Those who know me know that I am a planner. To a fault. I like to be in control of myself and situations around me. I actually have a plaque on my desk that says “Trust me, Barbie, I have everything under control. —Jesus”

So when I have the opportunity to get away from my normal routine, I get as far away from it as I can.

It actually makes me feel closer to God when I let Him direct my path instead of insisting that I know what is best for me.

I know what you’re thinking…
A two week vacation in not analogous to life. But I beg to differ with you. I think we need to get in that kind of mind-set on a more regular basis, even if we’re still entrenched in our normal daily routines.

What if every night when you went to bed and every morning when you got up, you asked God to help direct your path?

My Mom always said that “God helps those that help themselves.” So obviously, you have to have a plan. You have to keep your life in order. But I really believe that God will help you see outside the box if you’re open to it.

Think about living your Christian Faith. Did you complete a Covenant a few weeks ago? Did you commit to becoming involved in some way? Keep yourself open to direction. You may have to try several ministries before you find the one that is the best fit for you. Don’t get discouraged. The right path is there; you’ll find it.